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How Yahaya Bello used Kogi’s $720K to pay child’s tuition upfront -EFCC

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, claimed on Tuesday that investigation by the anti-graft agency revealed that the embattled former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, withdrew $720,000 from the state’s coffers to pay his child’s school fees upfront.

Olukoyede said he had personally put a call through to Bello, inviting him to clear the air on the issues but he refused to honour invitations.

The anti-graft agency boss spoke with editors, bureau chiefs, and media executives at the EFCC Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja, on Tuesday, amid the raging controversy and counter-claims between the EFCC and the ex-governor.

Bello is insisting that the attempt by the EFCC to arrest and prosecute him for an alleged N80.2bn fraud was in violation of a February 6 order of the Federal High Court in Lokoja restraining the anti-graft agency.

He noted that though the EFCC had appealed the order, he could not be arrested or arraigned until the order might have been lifted.

Following a failed attempt to arrest him in his Abuja residence last week Wednesday and the ex-governor’s absence from the Federal High Court where he was scheduled to be arraigned last Thursday, the EFCC had declared him wanted.

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Also, the Nigerian Immigration Service has placed him on watchlist.

He has been in hiding since.

But addressing journalists on Tuesday, Olukoyede said, “A sitting governor, because he knew he was going, removed money directly from the government’s account (and sent) to Bureau de Change, and used it to pay his child’s school fee in advance.

“Dollars – $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the government house.”

Olukoyede said when the alleged fraud was uncovered by the EFCC, he invited Bello for a talk, but he rebuffed the call.

“I called Yahaya Bello, as a serving governor, to come to my office to clear himself. I shouldn’t have done that. But he said because a certain senator had planted over 100 journalists in my office, he would not come.

“I told him that he would be allowed to use my private gate to give him a cover, but he said my men should come to his village to interrogate him.”

Olukoyede insisted that the EFCC did not violate any law by trying to arrest the former governor at his residence.

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“Rather, we have obeyed the law. I inherited the case, I didn’t create it. Why has he not submitted himself to the law?” he asked.

The EFCC chairman said anyone obstructing Bello’s arrest would have the law to contend with.

Bridget Benson
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