Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has adjourned the hearing of the alleged N3billion fraud charge preferred against Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello’s cousin, Ali Bello and three others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to June 17 and 18 for the continuation of the trial.
It had been reported on April 19 that the court fixed May 30 and 31 for continuation of the trial of the suspects.
It had also been reported in February that the court granted Ali Bello and three others bail in the sum of N500 million each in the alleged N3 billion fraud trial.
Bello, who is the nephew of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is being prosecuted by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on 18 counts bordering on money laundering and misappropriation of about N3 billion.
The other defendants in the case are Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, Iyada Sadat and the Kogi First Lady, Rashida Bello.
The EFCC is prosecuting them in suit No ABJ/CR/573/2022.
When the matter came up in April, the prosecution, led by Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, called their first witness Mr Nicholas Oyemomoni from the American International School, Abuja.
Oyemomoni however, could not complete his testimony because the defence team, led by Mr Abubakar Aliyu, SAN, objected to documents, which the EFCC sought to tender in evidence through him.
EFCC in statement issued by its Head and Publicity Wilson Uwujaren, had said that defence prayed the court to allow him raise the objection in his final written address while admitting the documents provisionally.
Meanwhile, when the matter came up again on Tuesday, the counsel to Bello and others, led by Ms Marianne Ediawe, informed the court that they had filed a letter for adjournment on May 26, 2023, and also served the EFCC on the same date.
It was reported that the defendants informed the court in the said letter that A. M. Aliyu (SAN), would be before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the day of the hearing, while Raji (SAN) was recuperating from an ailment.
Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), conceded to the adjournment, and Justice Egwuatu consequently adjourned the matter to June 17 and 18, 2023 for the continuation of trial.