N80Billion Fraud: I Personally Invited Yahaya Bello To My Office For Interview, He Said My Operatives Should Come To His Village –EFCC Chairman, Olukoyede

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that he personally called former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello to his office in Abuja for an interview over the alleged N80 billion fraud but he (Bello) asked EFCC operatives to come to his village to interview him.

Olukoyede disclosed that Bello sent his Government House cashier to withdraw money from the government account, took it directly to Bureau de Change and sent it to the American International School, Abuja for the payment of his children’s tuition in advance.

SaharaReporters in December 2023 exclusively reported that EFCC seized the $760,910.84 Bello paid to American International School, Abuja, as school fees in advance for his children untill graduation.

Documents obtained by SaharaReporters had shown that Bello through his nephew, Mr Ali Bello, had entered an agreement with the school to pay tuition for his four children up to graduation in advance to secure their future.

The agreement was signed and executed on August 23, 2021. Following the execution of the agreement, a total of $845.852.84 was paid into the school account in varied instalments.

However, the anti-corruption agency as part of its oversight function, subsequently invited the school authorities for a series of interviews connected with the funds through a letter dated September 7, 2023, after about one year.

SaharaReporters also reported on April 18 that the anti-corruption agency had filed 19 criminal counts before a Federal High Court in Abuja against the former governor bordering on criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

The charge filed at the Federal High Court 9, with charge FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024, dated March 9, 2024, has Yahaya Adoza Bello as the sole Defendant while the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the complainant.

The EFCC in the charge papers obtained by SaharaReporters, accused the ex-governor of conversion of a total of N80,246,470,089.88 being funds belonging to the Kogi State government in February 2016 to himself, an offence which is contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended.

Bello was also accused of indirectly using one Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu to use the sum of N950 million being proceeds of crime for the acquisition of a property at No. 35 Danube Street, Maitama District, Abuja.

On Tuesday, the EFCC boss said that the government house cashier took the billions of naira from the government account to a Bureau de Change to convert to dollars to pay the money to Bello’s children’s school.

Addressing editors during an interactive session in Abuja, Olukoyede said, “A sitting governor; because he knows his ways, he moved money. The particulars of the offence are there. Go and check it. Apply for our processes.

“He moved money directly from the government account to Bureau de Change, used to pay the child’s school fees in advance in dollars – $720,000 in advance as long as he was going to leave the government house in a poor state like Kogi.

“And you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise that I’m being used. Used by who at this stage of my life?

“I assumed office, I didn’t initiate the case. I inherited the case file. I called for the case file and for the report, and I said, there are issues here.

“On my own honour, I put a call across to him, which ordinarily I’m not supposed to do, just to honour him as the immediate past governor. I told him, ‘Sir, there are issues. I have seen this case file, can you just come? Let us clarify these issues.’

“He said, ‘I thank you, my brother. I know but I can’t come.’ That there was one lady, I think a Senator, whom he learned had surrounded EFCC with over 100 journalists to embarrass him and intimidate him.

“I said if that is your fear, I’m going to pass you through my own gate, a special man’s gate, you will come to my floor. We will accord you that respect. I will invite my operatives and they will interview you in my own office.

“What could be more honourable than that? But he said, ‘Thank you, sir. I appreciate but can’t they come to my village?’ That is what he told me. ‘Can’t they come to my village to interview me?’

“He also sent a message to my driver. Some people say we are hounding him, we are harassing him. Let’s be fair to EFCC.”


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