How Yahaya Bello Was Outsmarted By EFCC, Tracked To Abuja Hideout Through Aide’s Phone After Leaving Own Phone In Kogi

How Yahaya Bello Was Outsmarted By EFCC, Tracked To Abuja Hideout Through Aide's Phone After Leaving Own Phone In Kogi

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was able to track former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello to Abuja by outsmarting him, SaharaReporters has learnt.

It was learnt that Bello deliberately left his mobile phone at the Government House in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital to avoid being tracked to Abuja not knowing that EFCC operatives were already tracking the mobile phone of his aide he used.

Through his aide’s mobile phone, the former governor was tracked to where he was hiding in Abuja.

“Yahaya Bello left his phone at the Government House in Kogi to avoid being tracked to Abuja.

“But the mobile phone of his aide which he used was already being tracked to where he’s now trapped in Abuja,” a top security source told SaharaReporters.

Gists9ja earlier reported that EFCC operatives on Wednesday barricaded Bello’s house in Wuse, Abuja.

The EFCC siege came days after the former governor met with President Bola Tinubu at the State House.

It was also reported that there was no movement in and around the house located at Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4 in the nation’s capital.

On Wednesday, a top source shared a photograph showing how EFCC operatives had barricaded the access road to Bello’s house.

The source said: “EFCC barricades Bello’s house in Abuja. No movement in the area as EFCC barricaded the house. They are yet to gain access.”

Although there was no immediate information available as to the reason why the anti-graft agency stormed the former governor’s residence, the anti-graft agency had filed fraud charges against him.

The EFCC had charged the former governor with financial fraud to the tune of N84 billion.

The EFCC in an amended charge accused Bello of diverting N80 billion of state funds in September 2015, four months before he assumed office.

Bello assumed office as governor in January 2016.

The EFCC had arraigned Bello’s nephew, Ali Bello, before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, for alleged money laundering to the tune of N10 billion belonging to the state government.

The state government faulted the charge describing it as “ridiculous” and “laughable”. It argued that it was impossible, as the former governor was not yet in a position to access or misappropriate state funds at the said time.

The state government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, on February 7, 2024, accused the EFCC of being “infested with persons whose intents disagree with the noble intention of ‘Mr. President’ to defeat corruption in Nigeria.”

The EFCC had sued Bello before Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja for alleged N84 billion money laundering.

EFCC, which joined Bello’s nephew Ali Bello, Dauda Sulaiman and Abdulsalam Hudu as co-accused, said it was prosecuting them on an amended 17 counts of money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N84, 062,406,089.88.

The anti-graft agency claimed in the amended charge that former governor Bello was still at large.

Count one of the charges reads: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, Yahaya Adoza Bello (still at large) and Abdulsalam Hudu (still at large), sometime in September, 2015 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80,246,470,089.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty-six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Eighty-nine Naira, Eighty-eight Kobo), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(b) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended.”

Ali Bello and Suleiman, first and second defendants respectively, who were present in court “pleaded not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to them.

In December 2021, SaharaReporters reported that the EFCC had seized $760,910.84 that Bello paid to American International School, Abuja, as prepaid school fees for four children until graduation, over alleged money laundering.

Documents showed that Governor Bello through his nephew, Mr Ali Bello had entered an agreement with the school to pay tuition for his four children up to graduation in advance to secure their future.

The agreement was signed and executed on August 23, 2021. Following the execution of the agreement, a total of $845.852.84 was paid into the school account in varied instalments.

However, the anti-corruption agency as part of its oversight function, subsequently invited the school authorities for a series of interviews connected with the funds through a letter dated September 7, 2023, after about one year.

Sources revealed that during the interrogation of officials of the school, the EFCC noted that the advanced school fees were proceeds of crime. It said that the school was being used as an unwitting money laundering tool and demanded that it should refund the monies to the agency through a dedicated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“During the interviews, the EFCC further informed the school authorities that the commission was empowered to seize the total funds or any portion thereof.

“Following a review of the academic history of Governor Bello’s children with the school, the EFCC accepted that fees paid in relation to ongoing school sessions at the time did not amount to proceeds of crime and exempted the sum of $84.942.00. “Subsequently, the commission made a demand for transfer of the of $760.910.84, representing advance tuition payment to its nominated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria,” 

Following the development, the school management wrote a letter dated October 27, 2022, to the EFCC, requesting an official written demand for the refund of the monies, but the anti-graft agency provided an account to which the monies should be paid.

The school first paid $1,000 and later paid the remaining $759,91084 to the account.

Saharareporters

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