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Maintain arrest warrant for Yahaya Bello – EFCC prays Court

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Nigeria’s anti-graft agency has urged the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday to maintain the warrant of arrest issued against the ex-Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

The immediate former governor is facing a 19-count charge brought against him by the EFCC in the Federal High Court in Abuja.

A member of his legal team, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, told the court that Bello said he was afraid of arrest to appear in court in person.

The White-Lion’s as he is fondly called legal team reiterated his assertion that the anti-graft agency is an illegal organisation, arguing that the Federal Government did not seek the approval of the 36 states before enacting the EFCC Act through the National Assembly.

However, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, EFCC’s lawyer, prayed the court to reject the application, insisting that the warrant of arrest should not be set aside until the defendant makes himself available for trial.

Pinheiro argued that the ex-governor cannot evade appearing in court and file multiple applications, emphasizing that he cannot request the arrest order to be vacated unless he is present in court for arraignment.

“The defendant cannot stay in hiding and be filing numerous applications. He cannot ask for the arrest order to be vacated until and when the defendant is present in court for his arraignment. He cannot be heard on that applied application.

“The main issue should be ascertaining the whereabouts of the defendant. All these applications he is filing are nothing but dilatory tactics intended to delay his arraignment and frustrate the proceedings.

“If he wants the order of arrest to be discharged, let him come here and make the application.

“Our position is that the defendant should be denied the right of being heard, until he is physically present before this court.”

EFCC’s lawyer further posited that inline with section 396 of ACJA, 2015, the court could not effectively assume jurisdiction to decide any application or objection in the matter, until the defendant is arraigned.

The EFCC said it would not execute the arrest warrant if counsel to the defendant undertake to ensure his presence on the next adjourned date.

“If he gives an undertaking that his client will be in court on the next date, I can assure him that the arrest warrant will not be executed.

“If he gives that assurance, as the prosecution, I will personally apply for the warrant to discharged,” EFCC’s lawyer, Pinheiro, SAN, added.

The anti-graft agency told the court that the Supreme Court had since settled the issue of its legality.

EFCC added, “The charge before this court is not against a state or House of Assembly, but against an individual who is said to have laundered public funds.

“It is against an individual who is said to have taken public funds to buy houses in Lagos, Maitama and also transferred funds to his accounts abroad.”

 

 

 

 

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