Home » Ex-Governor in Kogi Faces Corruption Charges, Denies Wrongdoing

Ex-Governor in Kogi Faces Corruption Charges, Denies Wrongdoing

EFCC Accuses Yahaya Bello of Misusing Public Funds for Personal Gain

by Victor Adetimilehin

Nigerian authorities are investigating allegations of corruption against former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accuses Bello of diverting public funds for personal use, including paying his child’s school fees with state money.

According to EFCC Chairman Ola Olukoyede, Bello transferred $720,000 from government coffers to a currency exchange bureau before leaving office in January 2024. Olukoyede claims this money was used to prepay his child’s tuition fees.

“A former governor, aware he was not going to be re-elected, moved money directly from the state treasury to a bureau de change to pay his child’s school fees in advance – $720,000,” Olukoyede said in a press conference. “This, in a state as impoverished as Kogi.”

Bello has vehemently denied the allegations, claiming harassment by the EFCC. He reportedly refused an invitation to appear at the EFCC headquarters for questioning, citing concerns about his safety. Olukoyede, however, refuted these claims, stating he offered Bello a chance to clarify the situation in a private setting within the EFCC office.

“I didn’t initiate this case; I inherited it,” Olukoyede explained. “I reached out to him, as a courtesy extended to a former governor, to discuss these matters. He declined, fearing harassment from a woman he wouldn’t identify.”

The EFCC is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts, including money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds exceeding N80.2 billion (approximately USD 180 million). Olukoyede has vowed to resign if Bello is not held accountable.

EFCC Chairman Offers Details on Investigation

Olukoyede further elaborated on the investigation, highlighting his efforts to ensure transparency and due process.

“We have a responsibility to investigate these matters thoroughly,” Olukoyede said. “I offered Mr. Bello a chance to come forward and explain his actions. He refused. We are committed to upholding the law and ensuring justice is served.”

The EFCC has secured over 1,600 convictions and recovered nearly 120 billion naira in the past six months. Olukoyede emphasized the importance of the EFCC’s work in combating corruption and aiding victims of financial crimes.

“The EFCC plays a vital role in Nigeria’s fight against corruption,” Olukoyede said. “We’ve helped countless victims who have been defrauded of their hard-earned money. We must not relent in our efforts to bring corrupt officials to justice.”

Corruption Endemic in Nigeria

Corruption remains a significant challenge in Nigeria. Transparency International’s 2023 Corruption Perception Index ranked Nigeria 147th out of 180 countries, highlighting the prevalence of corrupt practices within the government. The EFCC, established in 2003, is tasked with investigating and prosecuting financial crimes.

The case against Yahaya Bello is the latest in a series of high-profile corruption investigations in Nigeria. The outcome of this case will be closely watched as it sheds light on the government’s commitment to tackling corruption and ensuring accountability for public officials.

Many Nigerians are concerned about the pervasive nature of corruption and its impact on the country’s development. They hope that the EFCC’s investigation into Bello will be successful and serve as a deterrent to future wrongdoing.

Looking Ahead

The allegations against Yahaya Bello are serious and raise concerns about the misuse of public funds in Nigeria. The EFCC’s investigation is ongoing, and Bello is expected to be arraigned on the corruption charges soon. The public awaits the next steps in this case and the ultimate resolution.

This case underscores the ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria. The EFCC’s efforts to hold public officials accountable will be crucial in deterring future corruption and ensuring the responsible use of public funds.

Source: Punch


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