Ex-Nigerian governor, Yahaya Bello, missing, court orders his arrest, to account for N84.2b belonging to Kogi State

JUDICIAL TRIAL OF EX-KOGI GOVERNOR.

N84.2Billion Fraud: Nigerian Court Restates Order For Arrest Of Former Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

Wanted missing ex-governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

By Advocatenewsng.com

FOR going into hiding and missing for a month now, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, where the former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello’s charge is pending, on Friday ordered for the search and immediate arrest of the fugitive ex-governor.

Bello, who governed the state for eight years is the immediate chief executive of the poor state where at the age of 48, he is being declared wanted to come to court to account on how allegedly N84.2 billion belonging to the people and government of Kogi State was insensitively misappropriated under his watch.

Justice Emeka Nwite berated Bello for trying to end the criminal prosecution that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had brought against him.

The court agreed with the EFCC’s counsel, Dr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) and restated the order it made on April 17, which directed security agencies to arrest and produce him before it to answer for the 19-count charge bothering on fraudulent misuse of funds pending against him.

According to the court, the former governor, by briefing lawyers to challenge its jurisdiction to try him, while he remained in hiding, showed that he “has no atom of respect and regard for the court.”

It held that Bello’s decision to file the application “is clearly showing his intention not to present himself for trial”.

The court stressed that he ought to have made himself available when he became aware of the arrest warrant issued against him.

He said, “The law is settled that he who disobeyed an order of court and shown disrespect to the court cannot expect a favourable discretion of the court.

“The honourable thing the defendant would have done was to obey the order of court by making himself available.

“Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, mandates all persons and authority to give effect to orders of court.

“He has wilfully disobeyed the order of this court. An order of court of competent jurisdiction, no matter how it was obtained, subsists until it is set aside.

“A party who refuses to obey an order of court after becoming aware of it, is in contempt of court.

“He is not entitled to be heard or granted a favourable discretion. The refusal of the defendant to make himself available is solely to truncate the arraignment and prevent the court from proceeding further in this case.

“Refusal of the defendant to make himself available is an attempt to truncate this court and make it practically impossible for the court to assume jurisdiction in this criminal trial.

“He ought to make himself available. He cannot sit in the comfort of his home to file applications before this court.

“The defendant has no atom of regard for the court. Clearly, the defendant is taking this court for granted.”

Justice Nwite held that Bello’s decision to treat the court order with levity was previously condemned by the Supreme Court.

“I’m shocked to the bone marrow that a senior counsel would stand before me to urge me to hear an application in view of the ruling delivered this morning 

“In view of the foregoing analysis, I am of the view and I so hold, that no application can be moved or heard unless the defendant is present before the court to take his plea,” the trial judge held.

In his ruling, Justice Nwite agreed with Pinheiro that no application from Bello should be taken until he appears in court to take a plea.

Bello is facing a charge bothering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of about N84.2 billion.

Re: S.R.

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