Yahaya Bello’s Attempt to Move N80bn Fraud Case to Kogi Denied by Federal High Court

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has declined ex-Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello’s request to transfer his trial for alleged N80.2bn fraud from Abuja to Kogi State. This decision was communicated in a letter dated July 2, signed by his Special Assistant, Joshua Aji.

Yahaya Bello's Attempt to Move N80bn Fraud Case to Kogi Denied by Federal High Court

In response to Bello’s application dated June 10, seeking the transfer of his case, Justice Tsoho upheld the position of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the trial should proceed in Abuja, not Kogi State.

Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), informed the trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite, on June 27 about Bello’s request for the transfer. Adedipe emphasized that the decision stemmed from discussions following the June 13 court proceedings.

“We provided him (Bello) with a summary of the day’s events in court. I understand that a letter was sent on behalf of the defendant to the Chief Judge requesting the transfer of the case to the FHC Lokoja division,” Adedipe said.

However, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, expressed dissatisfaction with the defense’s stance, arguing that Bello should have appeared in court for arraignment and opposing the transfer of the case to Kogi State.

In his letter to the counsels involved, Justice Tsoho’s Special Assistant, Aji, conveyed the Chief Judge’s decision, stating, “His Lordship agrees with the EFCC’s position that the trial should proceed in Abuja.”

The letter further elaborated on the jurisdictional aspect of the case, highlighting that the alleged offenses involved actions in both Abuja and Kogi State. It cited previous rulings and pending appeals related to similar cases, affirming the appropriateness of Abuja as the trial venue.

“The issue of jurisdiction is pivotal and should be adjudicated openly in court,” Aji concluded on behalf of Justice Tsoho.

Yahaya Bello remains embroiled in a legal dispute with the EFCC concerning allegations of N80.2bn fraud, with the venue for his trial now firmly set in Abuja.

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