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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Bello vs EFCC: Case transfer request to be heard in open court -CJ

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has directed that the request by former Governor Yahaya Bello for the transfer of the alleged money laundering case instituted against him by the EFCC to Kogi, be heard in open court.

In a letter addressed to Bello’s counsel, Abdulwahab Muhammed [SAN], and Musa Yakubu, [SAN], the CJ drew their attention to a pending appeal in the case.

The pending appeal is between Yahaya Adoza Bello Vs Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) wherein the defendant had sought a consequential order remitting the case to the chief judge for reassignment.

The letter, signed by Special Assistant to the CJ, Joshua Ibrahim-AJI, said as a result of this, it would be improper to take any step that would be tantamount to preempting the outcome of the appeal.

“There is documentary evidence of a pending appeal in the case Yahaya Adoza Bello Vs FRN filed on 17/05/2024 wherein the defendant as appellant has sought a consequential order remitting the case to the Chief Judge for reassignment.

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“It is not proper to take any step that will be tantamount to pre-empting the outcome of the appeal.

“The main issue raised is jurisdictional in nature and will be more appropriately decided by the court. The matter should therefore be presented in open court,” the CJ stated.

Tsoho observed that the main offence allegedly bordered on conversion of the state’s funds to purchase property in Abuja, and that the filing of the charge could either be in Abuja or Lokoja.

He referred to two ongoing cases before the FHC in charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/550/22 FRN Vs Ali Bello and another, and another charge in FRN Vs Ali Bello and 3 others, where a similar request for transfer was made and the lower court refused the application.

The EFCC charge against the former governor is currently before the trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite and the matter had been adjourned until July 17 for hearing.(NAN)

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