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Alleged N80.2bn Fraud: EFCC requests Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria to place Yahaya Bello on watch-list

Bello is facing a 19-count charge for alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of about N80.2 billion of public funds.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has requested INTERPOL in three North African countries — Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria — to place former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello on a watch-list, as reported over the weekend

It was further learnt that the decision by the EFCC was based on credible intelligence.

Other countries where the ex-governor is put on the watch-list are Egypt, Libya and Sudan.

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According to sources in the anti-graft agency, various options are being considered to address the Bello situation.

These options include but are not limited to, carrying out a raid on the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja, where it is believed that the former governor is hiding.

The watch-list was activated ahead of the July 17th expected appearance of the former governor before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Bello is facing a 19-count charge for alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of about N80.2 billion of public funds.

Although the ex-governor has denied the allegation, he has consistently failed to appear before the trial Judge, Justice Emeka Nwite on June 13th and June 27th.

At the last hearing, he filed an application for the transfer of his trial to the Federal High Court, Lokoja.

Speaking in the situation, the EFCC source said: “Ahead of the next hearing of the case, EFCC has activated many options, including taking a concrete action to watch-list Bello in North Africa.

“We are aware of a botched  exit to Morocco via Cameroon. We are determined to stop him from going on exile.

“From Singapore, the EFCC Executive Chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede was in Tunisia where he delivered a paper at a session on illicit financial flows. Thereafter, he had a meeting with all the Heads of INTERPOL in North Africa on the intelligence on the ex-governor.

“He formally asked INTERPOL to place  Bello on Red Alert in all North African countries and it was accepted.

“The watch-list has taken immediate effect. He will be arrested in any part of North Africa.

“We took this step because we are suspecting that he had been bidding time not to be available for arraignment.

“We expect Bello to be in court to prove his innocence. EFCC has to do its work to avoid bad precedent.”

At the last hearing, Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), applied to withdraw his appearance for his client.

But Adedipe drew the court’s attention to an application before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the transfer of charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 to the Federal High Court, Lokoja.

He said the application was pursuant to Section 45 of the Federal High Court Establishment Act.

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