METRO/CRIME

BREAKING: Court Orders EFCC To Serve Charge On Yahaya Bello’s Lawyer

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to serve a copy of the charge against the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, on his lawyer, Abdulwahab Mohamed.

This follows the absence of Bello in court for his arraignment on Tuesday.

Bello was absent from court for his arraignment on a 19-count charge of alleged money laundering to the tune of ₦84bn.

Justice Emeka Nwite relied on section 384 (4 and 5) of the Administrative and Criminal Justice Act 2015, directing the counsel to the immediate past governor, to receive a copy of the charge.

The court held that where it had become impossible to effect personal service of a legal process on a defendant, such could be done through substituted means.

Justice Nwite further held that it was clear that the former governor failed to appear in court for his arraignment.

Lead counsel to the anti-graft agency, Kemi Pinheiro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, argued the application.

Although Bello’s lawyer, Mohammed, initially declined to accept the charges and proof of evidence, he was compelled to do so by Justice Nwite.

The judge rejected the plea by the senior lawyer that a junior lawyer in his team, AI Musa, be the one to accept the charges on behalf of the former governor.

It was reported last week that Justice Nwite issued a bench warrant against Bello following an application to that effect by EFCC.

The EFCC subsequently declared the former governor wanted for his persistent absence in court and for evading the criminal charges against him.

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