The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed February 20 to rule on a bail application that was filed by Ali Bello, a nephew of the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.
Bello is facing trial over his alleged complicity in a three billion fraud.
Bello was arraigned on February 8, 2023, alongside Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege and Iyadai Sadat, who are facing 18 count criminal charges before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ahmed Raji on Tuesday asked the court to admit to bail, as the offences brought against his clients are bailable in the eyes of the law.
Trial Justice Obiora Egwuatu said he would consider the merit of applications that Bello’s three alleged accomplices also filed to be released on bail, pending the determination of the case against them.
In the application, the SAN argued that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been investigating the defendants in the past one year without any untoward behaviour from his clients.
He dismissed the allegations by the EFCC that defendants are flight risk and would tamper with evidence if granted bail.
Supporting his arguments, Raji further argued that the EFCC granted one of his defendants faithful return to Nigeria and surrendered his traveling passport to EFCC having been permitted by the anti-graft agency to travel to Saudi Arabia.
Opposing the bail request, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Mohammed Husseini, claimed that if admitted to bail, the defendants will tamper with evidence as well as interfere with witnesses.
He also argued that the defendants are likely to jump bail and not make themselves available for trial.
Husseini accordingly urged the court to deny the defendants bail.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu declared that ruling on the bail applications would be delivered on Monday, February 20, 2023.
The defendants were in count one charged with procuring, “E- Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3,081,804,654.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18(a), 15(20)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
They were also charged with procuring, “E-Traders International Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570,330 to account number no; 426-6644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to with: criminal misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”