Yahaya Bello: EFCC’s appeal against restraining order suffers setback as court fails to sit

EFCC logo and the former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello
EFCC logo and the former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello


Hearing on the appeal instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against an interim order of the Kogi State High Court restraining it from arresting former Kogi governor Yahaya Bello, suffered a setback on Monday as the Court of Appeal failed to sit.

The Kogi High Court had given the order pending the determination of the substantive originating motion for the enforcement of Bello’s fundamental human rights.

The appropriateness of the siege on Bello’s residence by operatives of the commission last Wednesday had elicited some debate across the country, particularly with the restraining order still in place.

The EFCC had appealed the order on March 11, 2024 and sought for a stay of execution in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Court of Appeal did not grant the stay of execution but fixed Monday, April 22 for hearing.

However, the Kogi High Court, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, had delivered its substantive judgment in the matter and directed the commission to seek the leave of a superior court before taking further step against Bello. The judgment was read at about 12 p.m.

As at about 8 a.m. on Wednesday, when EFCC laid siege on Bello’s Abuja residence, the interim injunction, which restrained them from arresting or harassing him, among others, was still subsisting.

Justice Isa Abdullahi had, in his latest verdict, granted an order enforcing the fundamental rights of Bello to liberty and freedom of movement and fair hearing.

The court restrained EFCC from harassing, threatening to arrest or detain Bello on the basis of the criminal Charges now pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja to wit; Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022 between FRN v. Ali Bello & Anor, without prejudice to the power of the said Federal High Court.

The judge also granted an order directing the EFCC not to invite, arrest or detain the Applicant on account of a reasonable belief that the applicant has committed any financial crime, without first obtaining the leave of a superior Court of Record, especially haven regard to the antecedents of the Respondent in the manner it has managed its engagements with the Applicant.”

The EFCC is seeking to arraign the former governor on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2billion.

The EFCC, in its appeal through its solicitor, J.S. Okutepa (SAN), is seeking a stay of execution to the order of the trial court in Kogi. (NAN)


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