Home News Ex-Kogi governor Yahaya Bello, seeks transfer of case to Lokoja

Ex-Kogi governor Yahaya Bello, seeks transfer of case to Lokoja

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ABUJA- The immediate-past Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has sought the transfer of his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the Federal High Court (FHC), Lokoja Division.

Bello, who made the application in a letter to the Chief Judge (CJ) of FHC, Justice John Tsoho, said that he preferred to be arraigned in Lokoja, being the place the alleged money laundering offence was committed.

Counsel to the former governor, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, made this known on Thursday when the matter came up before Justice Emeka Nwite.

At a resumed hearing, Adedipe informed Justice Nwite that a letter requesting for the transfer of the trial had already been delivered to the CJ for his administrative decision.

The senior lawyer said the request for Lokoja was due to the fact that the court had territorial jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Adedipe said that the legal team of the ex-Kogi governor was still awaiting the response of the CJ on the request for transfer of the case to Lokoja.

“Although the letter requesting for transfer of this matter to Lokoja, was written by Yahaya Bello’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed SAN, I am however under obligation to draw the attention of this honourable court to the issue,” Adedipe said.

Adedipe said the prosecution had been notified and their opinion had been sought via a letter dated June 14 from the CJ’s office.

The letter, addressed to EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, was signed by the Special Assistant to the Chief Judge, Joshua Ibrahim AJI, Esq.

“You will find attached the copy of a letter by counsel to the defendant on the above subject matter, dated 10th June, 2024.

“I am directed by His Lordship, the Honourable, the Chief Judge, to forward the letter to you for your response within 6 (six) days of receipt,” the letter read in part.”

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

The EFCC lawyer pleaded with Justice Nwite to hold Adedipe and Mohammed, the two senior advocates in the defence team, responsible for their inability to produce their client in court, despite the undertakings they made.

The EFCC lawyer also requested that the two SANs to be cited for contempt of court.

Meanwhile, Justice Nwite adjourned the matter until July 17, for arraignment of the former governor and ruling on the request of EFCC to cite the two senior lawyers for contempt.(NAN)

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