The immediate past governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, to transfer his trial in alleged money laundering charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.
Bello, through his counsel, Adeola Adedipe (SAN) said, he preferred to be arraigned in Lokoja, being the place the alleged money laundering offence was committed.
When the matter came up  on Thursday, Adedipe informed the trial Judge, Justice Emeka Nwite that a letter requesting for the transfer of the trial to Lokoja judicial division had already been delivered to the Chief Judge for his administrative decision to the request.
Specifically, Adedipe said the request for Lokoja was due to the fact that the Federal High Court has territorial jurisdiction to hear the matter in Lokoja and that, the legal team of the former Governor was still awaiting the response of the Chief Judge on the request for transfer of the case to Lokoja.
“Although, the letter requesting for transfer of this matter to Lokoja, was written by Yahaya Bello’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN), I am however under obligation to draw the attention of this honourable court to the issue”, Adedipe said and added that, the Prosecution had been notified and their opinion had been sought via a letter dated 14th June, 2024 from the Chief Judge’s office.
The letter, addressed to EFCC’s Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) was signed by the Special Assistant to the Chief Judge, Joshua Ibrahim AJI, Esq.
Lead counsel to the EFCC, Dr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) who opposed the request by the defendant, described it as an attempt to frustrate the trial and added that, the business of the day was the arraignment of the former governor.
He said the two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Adeola Adedipe and Abdulwahab Mohammed made undertakings to produce Yahaya Bello in court for his arraignment on Thursday.
Pinheiro pleaded with the  court to hold the two defence lawyers responsible for their inability to produce their client in court, despite the undertakings they made before the court.
The senior lawyer also urged the court to invite the two SANs to show cause why they should not be committed to prison for contemptuous conduct.
After hearing the submissions of counsel, Justice Nwite fixed July 17, for arraignment of the former Governor and ruling on the request by the anti-graft agency to hold contempt of court charge against Adedipe and Mohammed.
Bello is facing a 19-count charge bordering on his alleged complicity in money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of about N80.2billion.

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