Abuja school refunds $760,910 Bello children’s fees to EFCC

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The American International School of Abuja has paid the sum of $760,910.84 allegedly deposited by the embattled former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Bello was said to have deposited the sum of $845,852 to the school in respect of five of his children.

The EFCC is persecuting Bello for allegedly defrauding Kogi State to the tune of N80.2 billion.

EFCC chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had accused Bello of stealing the sum paid to school from Kogi government account.

Bello had denied the allegation and accused the anti-graft agency of blackmail and defamation.

But the EFCC chairman insisted that $845,852 was allegedly paid to the school by Bello in August 2021 to cover the education of four of his children in the school and another one “to be enrolled in August 2022 if application successful (sic) and there is space available.”

The fees were to cover a period of 14 years (2021–2035), according to documents filed in court by the EFCC to support its case against the ex-governor.

“The American school refunded the school fees in two tranches. Initially, it returned $720,000 to the EFCC and later $40,910,” a source said.

“Following mutual agreement with the EFCC, the school decided to retain some fees (I think $84,942) for its services.

“This is one of the aspects of our investigation which made us to ask Bello to come for interaction. But it is already part of our documents frontloaded to the Federal High Court in Abuja.

“You will recall that the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, had asked journalists to apply to the court for all evidence attached to the allegations against Bello. We will make this trial as transparent as possible.”

When contacted for official reaction, the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Dele Oyewale, said: “The school has refunded $760,910 to this commission.”

Another EFCC source confirmed that the school officially sent a letter of offer to refund to the Lagos Zonal Commander of the EFCC before effecting the payment.

The letter said in part: “Please forward to us an official written request, with the authentic banking details of the EFCC, for the refund of the above-mentioned funds as previously indicated as part of your investigation into the alleged money laundering activities by the Bello family.

“Since the 7th September 2021 to date, $845,852.84 in tuition and other fees have been deposited into our bank account.

“We have calculated the net amount to be transferred and refunded to the state after deducting the educational services rendered as $760,910.84.

“No further additional fees are expected in respect of tuition as the students’ fees have now been settled until they graduate from AISA.”

“One of the documents submitted to the court by the EFCC is an alleged agreement between one Ali Bello and the school for “Prepaid school fees until graduation”.

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