Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has been able to trace no fewer than 147 houses to Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello’s nephews, Bellnewsonline.com has learnt.
Yahaya Bello, some officials of his government and his relations have been on the prying eyes of the anti-graft agency recently.
Bellnewsonline.com had exclusively reported that one Aliyu Bello and Dauda Suleiman – two nephews of Governor Bello, were used to siphon N10.2billion from the state government accounts and are currently in prison custody after failing to meet their bail conditions.
Initial reports only identified Aliyu Bello as the governor’s nephew but sources told Bellnewsonline.com on penultimate Friday that both Aliyu and Dauda, who were remanded in prison on penultimate Thursday, are Governor Bello’s nephews.
Aliyu and Dauda, alongside one Abdulsalami Hudu, Cashier of Kogi State House Administration (now at large) were arrested and arraigned before Justice James Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday on 10 counts bordering on misappropriation and money laundering to the tune of N10.2 billion.
Aliyu Bello and Dauda Suleiman are accused of fraudulently withdrawing a sum of N10,270,556,800 (Ten Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand Eight Hundred Naira), from the Kogi State treasury, which they delivered to a Bureau de Change operator, Rabiu Tafada in Abuja to keep or change to foreign currencies for personal gains.
However, sources told bellnewsonline.com on Saturday that the 147 houses linked to Yahaya Bello’s nephews were discovered in Abuja alone.
According to the sources, “These houses are to be tendered as evidence against them in the court. Yahaya Bello is still trying to influence the presidency to drop the case.”
The anti-graft agency was also reported to have sealed off over 50 houses and other properties in different choice locations across the country belonging to Governor Bello, over the nephew’s alleged money laundering cases.
Meanwhile, the civil servants and retirees in Kogi State have yet to receive their wages and pensions less than 24 hours to Christmas celebration and one week to the New Year celebrations.
A source in EFCC revealed that some of the discovered properties, including a five-bedroom fully detached duplex and 150-room five star luxury hotel in Kogi and Abuja respectively were allegedly acquired with proceeds of N10billion money laundering fraud.
He said, “Yes, I can authoritatively confirm that properties of the governor, including 50 houses, hotels and others in different locations in the country have been sealed by detectives of the EFCC attached to the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering.
“Some of the properties so far sealed were said to have been allegedly acquired from proceeds of the money siphoned by the governor through his nephew. The EFCC is committed to pursuing the case despite the distractions from the governor and his sympathiser and the governor may finally forfeit the property among other consequences if finally proven guilty.”