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Court Chief Judge Refuses to Transfer Yahaya Bello’s N80.2bn Fraud Trial to Kogi

Court Chief Judge Refuses to Transfer Yahaya Bello's N80.2bn Fraud Trial to Kogi

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has rejected the request of former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, to transfer his N80.2bn fraud trial from Abuja to Kogi State. The judge agreed with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the trial should be held in Abuja, citing jurisdictional issues and precedents set by previous cases.

Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), had filed an application on June 10 seeking the transfer of the case to Kogi State. However, Justice Tsoho disagreed with the request in a letter dated July 2, stating that the court has already considered similar applications and refused them in other cases.

The EFCC had argued that the alleged fraud was partly committed in Abuja and Kogi State, making it possible for the case to be tried in either location. However, Justice Tsoho ruled that the prosecution has provided documentary evidence showing that similar charges related to the same scheme of alleged fraud are already being tried in Abuja.

The judge also cited a pending appeal filed by Bello on May 17, 2024, which sought to remit the case to the Chief Judge for reassignment. Justice Tsoho deemed it improper to take any step that would preempt the outcome of the appeal.

The EFCC had expressed displeasure over Bello’s absence in court during his arraignment, and Pinheiro (SAN), counsel for the EFCC, opposed Bello’s bid to have the case moved to Kogi State.

The development is a setback for Bello, who has been having a running battle with the EFCC over alleged fraud involving N80.2bn. The trial is expected to continue in Abuja.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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