JUST IN: Alleged N84bn Fraud: Why EFCC Should Declare Yahaya Bello Wanted Now, PDP Chieftain Okai Speaks

Alleged N84bn Fraud: Why EFCC Should Declare Yahaya Bello Wanted Now, PDP Chieftain Okai Speaks

PDP chieftain Usman Okai Austin has urged the to declare former state governor Yahaya Bello wanted over the alleged misappropriation of fundsThe EFCC, in the latest development, accused the former governor of being involved in a corruption scandal, to the tune of N80.2 billionOkai stressed the importance of accountability, transparency, and citizen vigilance in demanding justice and fiscal probity, urging Nigerians to support the EFCC regarding the case

Henzodaily.ng journalist Nurudeen Lawal has 8 years of experience covering political campaigns and elections

FCT, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been urged to declare former Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, wanted over an alleged misappropriation of funds.

The House of Representatives candidate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) for Dekina/Bassa in the 2023 elections, Usman Okai Austin, made the call in a statement made available to Henzodaily.ng on Saturday, March 16.

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Yahaya Bello/Usman Okai Austin/EFCCPDP chieftain Usman Okai Austin on Saturday, March 16, urged the EFCC to declare former Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, wanted.
credits: Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Usman Okai Austin
Source: Facebook

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Okai also issued a fervent call to safeguard the interests of the people of Kogi state regarding the misappropriation of funds by the former governor, Yahaya Bello.

According to him, despite the arduous task of protecting the state, it is imperative not to overlook the plight of civil servants grappling with the repercussions of fiscal misdeeds.

Corruption allegations rocking Kogi state

Recall that on August 31, 2021, Justice Tijani Garba Ringim, a vacation judge, ordered the freezing of the account following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency, in a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex-parte application, had stated that it received credible and direct intelligence, which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in account No. 0073572696 domiciled in Sterling Plc with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.

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Moving the application for the interim forfeiture of the funds on August 31, 2021, A. O. Mohammed, counsel to the EFCC, urged the court to grant the order to prevent further dissipation of the funds in the account.

Mohammed had also told Justice Ringim that the N20 billion meant to augment the payment of salary and running costs of the government was kept in an interest-yielding account with the bank.

He said:

“Instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, Sterling Bank Plc, acting on the instruction of the Kogi State government, transferred it from the loan account and placed it in a fixed deposit account.”

Reacting, Kingsley Fanwo, Kogi state commissioner for information, debunked the allegation, stating that the state government judiciously used the funds for its intended purpose.

However, Okai countered Fanwo's comment, saying:

“It is untenable to shield any individual, including former Governor Yahaya Bello, at the expense of the welfare of Kogi workers. The ramifications of such actions are profound, with millions of lives hanging in the balance.”

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Recently, the EFCC named ex-Governor Bello in an ongoing corruption case but has yet to charge him formally.

The former governor's nephew, Ali Bello, and his associate, Dauda Suleiman, the two defendants in the case, were accused of diverting funds belonging to Kogi state.

But in the newly introduced count, the two defendants in the case were accused of conspiring with Bello to convert the total sum of N80.2 billion (N80,246,470,089.88) belonging to Kogi state government to personal use.

Yahaya Bello's probe: Support EFCC, Okai tells Nigerians

Reacting to the latest development in Abuja on Saturday, Okai urged Kogites and all concerned Nigerians to galvanize support for the EFCC's efforts to bring the former governor to justice.

He underscored the urgency for enhanced scrutiny of Bello's alleged transgressions.

“What is EFCC waiting for to declare Bello wanted? And why does EFCC put 2015 in the charges, or are they trying to give ex-Governor a soft landing to escape judgment?” Okai asked.

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“The staggering loss of billions of naira, a burden borne by the citizens, serves as a stark reminder of the imperative to uphold accountability and transparency in governance.

“Moreover, revelations of property acquisitions in lucrative locales like Dubai, Maitama, and Lagos raise serious questions about fiduciary responsibility.

“It is disconcerting that despite the confiscation of numerous properties by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), investigations were impeded by immunity provisions.”

The PDP chieftain said the alleged misappropriation of public funds cannot be tolerated, and those responsible must be held accountable irrespective of their former positions.

He added:

“This call to action is not driven by personal animus but rather by a steadfast commitment to the principles of good governance and fiscal probity.

“The good governance advocacy implores citizens to set aside differences and unite in the pursuit of justice and accountability.

“As the wheels of justice turn, it is incumbent upon every citizen to remain vigilant and resolute in demanding transparency and accountability from those entrusted with the stewardship of public resources.

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“The future well-being of Kogi State hinges upon the integrity of its leaders and the diligence of its citizens in upholding the rule of law.”

Kogi govt kicks as EFCC files N84bn charges against Bello

Meanwhile, On Friday, March 15, The Kogi government asked the EFCC to come clean on the reason behind its “unrelenting persecution” of the state's immediate past governor, Bello.

The state government said the world would be eager to know why the anti-graft agency is trying so hard to find what is not .

It also insisted that its funds were not missing and called on the EFCC to desist from mentioning the name of Kogi in its ongoing “persecution”, allegedly orchestrated by some political actors around the presidency bent on destroying the image of the former governor.

Source: Henzodaily.ng

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