Thursday, May 23, 2024

Court adjourns ruling in EFCC’s suit against Bello to May 10

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday adjourned till May 10 for ruling in the suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

Bello is facing a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

At the last hearing, Justice Emeka Nwite had adjourned for arraignment and ruling after Bello failed to show up in court for his arraignment.

Just like last week, Bello was again absent for his arraignment in court on Tuesday.

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On this ground, Justice Nwite ordered the EFCC to serve a copy of the proof of evidence and charge against Bello on his counsel while he Cited Section 382(4) and (5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.

Justice Nwite ordered that the counsel who had announced unconditional appearance for Bello be the one to receive the service of the charge.

“I make an order for the charge and the proof of evidence to be served on counsel who had unconditionally announced appearance for the defendant”.

Abdulwahab Mohammed who last week had declared unconditional appearance for Bello however initially declined to accept the charge as he had instructed a junior lawyer in his team to receive it. Justice Nwite however insisted that he accepts it.

The court held that the law allows for substituted means of service in a situation where it becomes practically impossible to effect personal service of a legal process on a defendant.

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Justice Nwite held that this could be done by handing the same to either his counsel or any adult in his household.

Justice Nwite said the court cannot assume jurisdiction in the absence of effective service of the Originating Summon.

He held that service of any process of court on a defendant is fundamental to ensure jurisdiction.

“Any decision reached in the absence of service will be subject to an appellate attack no matter how brilliant the decision reached”, Nwite had said.

A member of Bello’s legal team, Mr Adeola Adedipe (SAN) had appealed to the court to set aside the warrant of arrest hanging over his client.

Adedipe said his client would have loved to show up in court but he is afraid of the order of arrest.

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