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Alleged money laundering: FG serves Yahaya Bello charge through his counsel

The Federal Government served the immediate-past Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, with the money laundering charge in the open court on Tuesday through his lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN).

This followed the permission granted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute the former governor on behalf of the federal government by the trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, to serve Bello through his counsel.

After the service of the charge was effected, counsel to Bello moved an application seeking the setting aside of the warrant of arrest order issued against the defendant as the service of the charge had been effected on him.

Mohammed said, “Now that service has been effected, a warrant of arrest should not be allowed to hang on the neck of the defendant.”.

Meanwhile, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), representing the EFCC, opposed the application, saying that the court cannot entertain any application by the defendant without his physical presence in court.

He reminded the court of its earlier order that the defendant be arrested and brought to court to take his plea on the allegations preferred against him and added that the court can only consider any application in a criminal trial after the defendant has taken his plea.

The EFCC lawyer told the court that the application by the defendant is aimed at delaying his arraignment and frustrating the matter, and he urged the court not to indulge the defendant.

According to him, “the defendant, having disobeyed the order of the court, cannot be entitled to enjoy the exercise of the discretion of the court in his favour.

He drew the court’s attention to Section 396 of ACJA, which allows any application by the defendant only after his arraignment in court.

After hearing submissions of counsel in the matter, Justice Nwite adjourned till May 10 for ruling.

Yahaya Bello is accused of laundering over N80 billion belonging to Kogi state.

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