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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned Rashida, wife of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, for alleged money laundering.
The EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the development in a statement in Abuja, said the governor’s wife was arraigned alongside her husband’s nephew, Ali Bello, and three other persons on an 18-count charge of money laundering and criminal misappropriation of funds.
Mrs. Bello is, however, said to be at large.
The commission alleged that the defendants conspired to misappropriate N3,081,804,654 belonging to the Kogi State government.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their plea, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked the court to pick a date for the commencement of the trial.
READ ALSO: Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Witness reveals how Kogi Assembly candidate, Atumeyi, fraudulently benefitted N681m from customers’ accounts
The defence counsel, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to grant his clients’ bail in the most liberal terms.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu ordered that the defendants be remanded in the correctional centre pending the ruling on their bail application and adjourned the matter till February 13.
This is not the first time the Kogi State government will be in the spotlight with the EFCC.
The two parties were involved in a hugely-publicized spat in 2022 over the arraignment of the governor’s nephew for alleged N10 billion fraud.
The government in a statement issued at the time by the state’s Commissioner for Information, and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, accused the commission of a witch-hunt and bias against the Bello administration in the state.
The commissioner insisted that EFCC was determined to embarrass the government in order to save its face after the investigation into a N20 billion bailout found in Sterling Bank in 2021 met a brick wall.
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