The Kogi State Government, on Tuesday, described as laughable the allegation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that the immediate-past governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, was involved in an alleged N80bn.
The state governor expressed dissatisfaction that the EFCC could change a current charge, FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022, before the Federal High Court in Abuja in an attempt to prosecute Bello, who left office on January 27.
The government, in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, accused the EFCC of working with “criminals masquerading as politicians” to damage Bello’s image.
He said, “This was not only laughable but portrayed the EFCC as an agency infested with persons whose intents disagree with the noble intention of Mr President to defeat corruption in Nigeria.
“The fact that the EFCC, in charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022: FRN V. 1. Ali Bello 2. Dauda Suleiman, currently pending before Honorable Justice J.K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division further amended the amended charge to include in the counts the name of H.E Yahaya Bello, describing him as being at large, is ridiculous, laughable and portrays the EFCC as an agency infested with persons whose intents disagree with the noble intention of Mr. President to defeat corruption in Nigeria.
“Being at large of course means that a person is evading arrest or is on the run and cannot be found after an attempt to arrest.
“For the sake of clarity, the original charge is against Ali Bello and Dauda Suleiman, Ali’s associate. The offence which H.E Yahaya Bello is alleged to have committed upon which he has been named in the count is a conspiracy to convert the total sum of N80,246,470,089.88, which offence is said to have occurred on or about September 2015 in Abuja. His co-conspirators, according to the count, are Abdulsalami Hudu (Kogi State Government House Cashier) described as being at large too, Ali Bello and Dauda Suleiman.
“The count of the offence is most laughable as the election that produced H.E Yahaya Bello, as governor of Kogi was only conducted in November 2015. Indeed, H.E. Captain Idris Wada of the PDP held sway as governor of Kogi State at the material time until he handed over to H.E Yahaya Bello on the 27th day of January 2016.
“H.E Yahaya Bello could therefore not have as of September 2015 conspired with anyone, including Abdulsalami Hudu, a Kogi Government House Cashier to convert any money belonging to the Kogi State Government. It is to be noted that H.E Yahaya Bello before becoming the Governor of Kogi State had no financial dealings with the Kogi State Government which could have permitted him to convert monies belonging to the Kogi State Government, hence, one’s dismay at the allegation.”