Crime

EXPOSED: How Gov Yahaya Bello Used Relations To Siphon Billions Of Naira –

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EXPOSED: How Gov Yahaya Bello Used Relations To Siphon Billions Of Naira

EXPOSED: How Gov Yahaya Bello Used Relations To Siphon Billions Of Naira

Initial reports only identified Aliyu Bello as the governor’s nephew but sources told SaharaReporters on Friday that both Aliyu and Dauda, who were remanded in prison on Thursday are Governor Bello’s nephews.

Aliyu Bello and Dauda Suleiman – two nephews of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello used by the governor to siphon N10.2 billion from the state government account are still in prison custody after failing to meet their bail conditions, SaharaReporters learnt on Friday.

Initial reports only identified Aliyu Bello as the governor’s nephew but sources told SaharaReporters on Friday that both Aliyu and Dauda, who were remanded in prison on Thursday are Governor Bello’s nephews.

Aliyu and Dauda, alongside one Abdulsalami Hudu, Cashier of Kogi State House Administration (now at large) were arrested and arraigned before Justice James Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday on 10 counts bordering on misappropriation and money laundering to the tune of N10.2 billion.

Aliyu Bello and Dauda Suleiman are accused of fraudulently withdrawing a sum of N10,270,556,800 (Ten Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand Eight Hundred Naira), from the Kogi State treasury, which they delivered to a Bureau de Change operator, Rabiu Tafada in Abuja to keep or change to foreign currencies for personal gains.

Gov Yahaya Bello
Gov Yahaya Bello

Justice James Omotosho admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N1 billion each and two sureties, who are to provide a bond of N2 billion each and have a landed property valued at N500 million. The title of the properties shall be registered with the chief registrar of the court.

Each of the sureties and defendants is also required to submit their bank statements and passports to the chief registrar of the court.

The court also ruled that the sureties must also produce affidavits of means and evidence of tax clearance for at least three years.

However, sources told SaharaReporters that as of Friday morning, the defendants were still at Kuje Correctional Centre (prison) where they were remanded by the court because they had yet to meet their bail conditions.

SaharaReporters gathered from one of the sources that when one of the governor’s nephews, Aliyu was arrested, “Yahaya Bello (the governor) tried to bribe the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to release him but some people within the EFCC were adamant. The Bello guy was arrested first out of his two nephews in custody.”

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“The other guy, Dauda Suleiman is also Governor Bello’s nephew. He is a musician. He is the son of Yahaya Bello’s sister. He calls his company – Hi-Speed Music and he is known for spending like a billionaire,” the source added.

According to one of the sources, Dauda once paid some people in the music industry N50 million to help facilitate collaboration with music star, Ayodeji Balogun, better known as Wizkid.

Dauda was said to have been arrested when he took food to Aliyu who was in detention, not knowing he was also on the EFCC’s watch list.

“The second guy, Dauda, who is also a musician, was arrested when he took food to Aliyu not knowing he is also on the watch list,” the source added.

One of the counts against the accused persons reads: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalami Hudu (now at large) between January and December 2021, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court procured Rabiu Usman Tafada to take possession of the total sum of N5,865,756,800 (Five Billion, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Five Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Six Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation from the treasury of Kogi State and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18 (c), 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

Another count reads: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalami Hudu (now at large) between January and December 2021, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court aided Rabiu Usman Tafada to retain the total sum of N2,509,650,000.00 (Two Billion Five Hundred and Nine Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity to wit: Criminal Misappropriation from the treasury of Kogi State Government and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18 (a) 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

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Kogi Government Reacts

Meanwhile, Governor Bello in a statement by the state information and communication commissioner, Kingsley Fanwo, attacked the anti-graft agency, describing the arrest of the governor’s family members as “unrepentant witch-hunting” of the state government.

The Governor Bello-led government said, “Inasmuch as we would not want to delve into the depth of the matter which is now subjudice, it is pertinent to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that the desperation of the EFCC to crucify Kogi State at all costs may have landed them in another trouble.

“Unlike the EFCC that has been known for serial contempt of court under the current leadership; we are committed to allow the law to take its due course on the matter and our innocence, again, proven beyond reasonable doubt.”

It further read, “The media trial by the EFCC is a calculated and orchestrated plan to embarrass the State Government by going after its Officials and Associates with trumped up charges to satisfy the destructive fangs of their paymasters.

“Let it be on record that no money belonging to the Kogi State Government was laundered. SFTAS is a World Bank accountability project to ensure the Government stays accountable to the people. For many years, Kogi has won Awards as one of the most transparent State Governments in Nigeria.

“A responsible anti-graft agency would have made Kogi an example of transparency and excellence. However, with its endless wild goose chase, Nigerians would even wonder if EFCC’s obviously biased corruption binoculars are only designed for Kogi State.

“It is not unexpected that the EFCC would feel disappointed that the monies they claimed had been stolen from the coffers of the state have been used to build Nigeria’s best hospitals, good roads, best schools that are about to be commissioned. We cannot help their descent into political pawn. We will continue to make the resources of our state work for our people.

“Nigerians know that the recent Gestapo-like operation against the State was occasioned by EFCC’s failure to sell the “fixed” Bailout funds debacle to the people. They became desperate to save their face from the disgrace bestowed on them by their “Destroy Kogi” Agenda.

“We urge our people not to take the laws into their hands as we are prepared in fact and in conscience for the legal battle ahead.”

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