Yahaya Bello Absent Again as Court Begins Arraignment.

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The embattled former governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello was again, absent from court for his arraignment on a 19-count charge of alleged money laundering to the tune of ₦84 billion.

Bello was noted as absent when his case was called before justice Emeka Nwite of the federal high court, Abuja.

Justice nwite had on 18th April adjourned for ruling on substituted service of the charge on the former governor, who the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleges is evading service.

Bello, through his lawyer, says he’s willing to appear in court but is afraid of being arrested and placed in custody of the EFCC. “The defendant wants to come to court but he is afraid that there is an order of arrest hanging on his head”, his lead counsel, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, said.

Adedipe also argued that the EFCC’s establishment was unconstitutional, as the federal government did not seek approval from the 36 state assemblies as mandated by the constitution.

“This is a very serious matter that borders on the constitution and the tenets of federalism. It has to be resolved because as it stands, the EFCC is an illegal organization,” the lawyer said.

On their part, counsel for the EFCC,  Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, accused Bello of engaging in diversionary tactics to evade justice saying “the main issue should be ascertaining the whereabouts of the defendant. All these applications he is filing are nothing but dilatory tactics intended to delay his arraignment and frustrate the proceedings.

“The defendant cannot stay in hiding and be filing numerous applications. He cannot ask for the arrest order to be vacated until and when the defendant is present in court for his arraignment. He cannot be heard on that applied application,” the EFCC’s lawyer said

The EFCC counsel also offered not to effect Bello’s arrest if his lawyers promise to produce him in court at the next hearing.

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