Home News Judiciary Yahaya Bello urges court to transfer case from Abuja to Lokoja

Yahaya Bello urges court to transfer case from Abuja to Lokoja

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A former governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Abuja, Justice John Tsoho to transfer his trial in alleged money laundering to Lokoja.

Bello, who completed his two year tenure of eight years last 27 January, said that he preferred to be arraigned in Lokoja, the state capital, being the place the alleged money laundering offence was committed.

At a resumed hearing on Thursday, Bello, who was represented by his counsel, Adeola Adedipe informed Justice Emeka Nwite that a letter requesting for the transfer of the trial had already been delivered to the Chief Judge for his administrative decision.

Specifically, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the request for Lokoja was due to the fact that the Federal High Court has territorial jurisdiction to hear the matter in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

Adedipe said that the legal team of the former Kogi governor was still awaiting the response of the Chief Judge on the request for transfer of the case to Lokoja.

He said the prosecution had been notified and their opinion had been sought via a letter dated 14 June 2024 from the Chief Judge’s office.

The letter, addressed to counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), was signed by the Special Assistant to the Chief Judge, Joshua Ibrahim Aji.

However, the request for transfer was vehemently opposed by the EFCC lead counsel, Dr. Kemi Pinheiro who described the request as an attempt to frustrate the trial.

The EFCC lawyer asked Justice Emeka Nwite to hold Adedipe and Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN), responsible for their inability to produce their client in court, despite the undertakings they made.

The EFCC lawyer also requested that the two senior advocates be cited for contempt of court.

Meanwhile, the court has fixed 17 July, for arraignment of the former governor and ruling on the request of EFCC to cite the senior lawyers for contempt.

The EFCC is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

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