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HomeNewsFull Text: Official Statement Reveals Those Behind Yahaya Bello’s Chase By EFCC...

Full Text: Official Statement Reveals Those Behind Yahaya Bello’s Chase By EFCC Operatives

An official statement released on Thursday alleges that some desperate politicians are behind the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ‘s recent pursuit of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

News360 Info reported earlier that EFCC operatives raided the former Kogi governor’s Abuja residence, located in Benghazi Street, in Wuse Zone 4, yesterday as part of ongoing investigations into a money laundering case involving high-ranking officials from Kogi State.

The operation occurred despite a restraining order against Bello’s arrest from a Kogi state high court, highlighting a tense standoff between legal authorities and the anti-graft agency.

Reacting in a lengthy statement released on Thursday, Bello’s Media Office, faulted the anti-graft agency, describing the siege on the former Governor’s house as an abuse of prosecutorial powers.

Bello described the EFFC’s onslaught against him as “nothing but a desperate political witch-hunt” of the immediate past governor of Kogi State.”

The full statement reads: “The attention of the Media Office of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has again been drawn to another chapter in the series of the ongoing persecution of the former Governor by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Having failed woefully to achieve their motive of national embarrassment with the critical questions that greeted their earlier allegations that the former Governor converted over N80bn Kogi State funds to personal use in September 2015, even before he became Governor, masterminds of this unending persecution have hurriedly repackaged their script, this time dragging the name of the EFCC further in the mud.

In a miscalculated bid to satisfy their paymasters at all costs, some desperate politicians have pushed the EFCC to approach another Federal High Court in Abuja, with the same set of questionable allegations without waiting for the determination of the two preceding cases they’ve filed in two different Courts simultaneously.

In this particular one, they tried to correct their initial blunder by saying the about N80 billion was now stolen in February 2016, arguably in less than three weeks after he assumed office for the first time as Governor of Kogi State on January 27, 2016!

Looking at the curious and endless scenarios of duplicated charges, cross-charges, counter and frivolous charges by the EFCC against former Governor Yahaya Bello, it has become crystal clear that the whole onslaught is nothing but a desperate political witch-hunt of the immediate past Governor of Kogi State.

His media office then drew the attention of President Bola Tinubu, saying that the abuse of court processes and prosecutorial powers by the EFCC, is assuming a dangerous dimension that the head of the Commission might not even have paid attention to.

“We still want to assume that he is being misled into political persecution rather than diligent prosecution by bad eggs within the system, working with criminals masquerading as politicians.”

Bellos’s Media Office stressed that the former government has done nothing wrong but rather has raised the bar of governance in Kogi State high.

The statement obtained by Channels Television added: “The desperation to nail a man that has done nothing but to raise the bar of governance in his State and provide visible dividends of democracy to all, irrespective of religious or ethnic leaning, has beclouded the rational thinking of masterminds and pushed them into a consistent pattern of raising extremely frivolous and indefensible allegations against their target.

“For instance, in their latest case, directly filed against Alhaji Yahaya Bello, in the same Abuja on March 6, it was alleged that the former Governor misappropriated a whopping 80,246,470,089.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty-six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Eighty-nine Naira and Eighty-eight kobo) in February 2016.

The team of ‘Almighty Strategists’ obviously had to change the initial September 2015 date to avoid the backlash the initial cooked-up charges brought on the Commission, but they again failed to cover the blind conspiracy of vendetta in the so-called allegations.

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His media aide then asked if it was possible for a governor who had not even been on seat for three weeks, to steal over N80bn from a state.

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“The question here is: how much is the combined monthly Federal allocation and Internally Generated Revenue for the entire 2016?

But the desperation by the frustrated political forces and ethnic chauvinists in the State and other unpatriotic elements outside the State, who are so determined to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, couldn’t make them care about facts and figures in their contrived compendium of falsehoods and fake allegations.

Nigerians should also be aware that the political connection in all of these shenanigans and comedy of the absurd has been exposed by the composition of the legal team of the EFCC in their purported fresh case. Number two on the list of the EFCC lawyers is J.S. Okutepa, SAN. This EFCC lawyer is also the lead Counsel and kinsman to the candidate of the Social Democratic Party at the Tribunal.

The same Mr. Okutepa worked publicly against the APC in 2015, 2019, 2023 and even campaigned openly for the Labour Party in the Presidential election. What else would that kind of character, who has lost virtually all cases he handled against Yahaya Bello and the APC, bring to the table other than deliberate strategies to bring a man and a Party he detests so much at state and national levels into disrepute by influencing the EFCC to engage in flagrant disobedience of Court orders and abuse of court processes?

The same Okutepa SAN is EFCC’s Lawyer in the civil suit filed against the EFCC by H. E Yahaya Bello and is aware of the interim order of the Court issued against his Client restraining it from arresting, inviting and prosecuting him pending the determination of the suit before the Court.

Yet, during the pendency of that order, which he appealed against, he joined others in causing to be filed, a Charge against Yahaya Bello, an action contemptuous of the Order of that Court.

It is a shame that we have given desperate politicians the power to stain the noble intentions of Mr. President as regards the fight against corruption. It is also sad that criminally minded opposition politicians are now working in cahoots with internal collaborators against the APC and, indeed the “President, all in the name of an ill-fated political chess game. But they will be exposed, sooner than later.

Beyond these, the EFCC is aware of a restraining order on it by a Court of competent jurisdiction against any arrest, persecution, prosecution or any form of harassment against the former Governor, which has not been vacated, yet the agency persists in the same prohibited acts.

On Wednesday, April 17, Justice I.A. Jamil of the High Court in Lokoja gave a judgment restraining the EFCC from arresting, detaining, or prosecuting Bello based on the criminal charges pending before the Federal High Court.

Recall that, in what many have described as a flagrant disobedience to the subsisting
Court order, the Commission had maliciously listed his name in an amended charge at a Federal Court. As if that was not bad enough, it has proceeded again to file the same charge already before two other Judges of the Federal High Court before another Judge in the same Abuja.

This is nothing but a ludicrous duplication that clearly violates and abuses the due processes of the Courts. How else can one explain a situation where three Courts in the same Federal High Court, Abuja Division, are saddled with hearing the same charges simultaneously? It is simply a case of abuse of prosecutorial powers and persecution taken too far!

The Kogi state government has repeatedly stated unequivocally that all its financial records are clean and up-to-date and that no missing or stolen funds belong to the State.

All that is happening currently is that the EFCC is unwittingly availing itself to evil political forces who have ulterior motives.

Our Principal, H. E Yahaya Bello, remains committed to the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the continued well-being of a State that he has served diligently for eight years.

We therefore call again on the President to call EFCC to order in the interest of the rule of law.”

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