EFCC bungles arraignment of Yahaya Bello, court picks June 27 as new date

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday abandoned its earlier request for a change in the date for arraignment of former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, from June 13 to June 27, without informing the defendant’s lawyers.

A new date, June 27, had been reportedly fixed for hearing in the alleged money laundering case instituted by EFCC against Bello, at the instance of the anti-graft agency’s lawyers.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, counsel to Bello, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, told the court that the EFCC lawyers approached Aliyu AbdulWahab, SAN, who is the counsel for the defendant, that the June 13 date would not be convenient for them to proceed and that Wahab had to agree by way of convenience for another date to be set.

He said he was surprised when he heard that EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo was in court.

“They (EFCC) agreed that junior counsel would be sent to court today to formally pick a date. And the registry can confirm this,” Adedipe said.

“Kemi Pinhero, SAN, has been calling us to say today is not convenient,” he added. Kemi Pinhero is the lead counsel.

But for the decision of the EFCC to seek an adjournment to a future date for his arraignment, Bello was said to be ready to appear in court on Thursday.

“Under 266 ACJA there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them.

“We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe noted.

Meanwhile, the court has fixed June 27 as new date for the arraignment.

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