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EFCC to ex-Gov. Bello: We will set aside arrest warrant if you show up in court

..... I'm afraid of arrest, would have loved to show up in court - Bello

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“I will personally apply that the arrest warrant be set aside if he comes to court on the next adjourned date” EFCC lawyer

With the ex-governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello, absent in court due to the order of arrest hanging over his head, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it will set aside the arrest warrant if he shows up in court.

Bello had said through his lawyer that he would have loved to show up in court, but he is afraid of arrest.

Persecondnews reports that 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.

The EFCC counsel, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), made the promise on Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja after a member of Bello’s legal team, Mr. Adeola Adedipe (SAN), said his client would have loved to show up in court, but he is afraid “of the order of arrest hanging over his head.”

Adedipe said: “The court must satisfy itself that the defendant (Mr. Bello) will not be prejudiced in fairness if the warrant of arrest continues to hang on his neck, having been made before service of the charge, contrary to Section 394 of the ACJA.”

But the EFCC counsel assured that it could be set aside.

“As his prosecution, I will personally apply that the arrest warrant be set aside if he comes to court on the next adjourned date.

“If he gives an undertaking that his client will be in court on the next date, I can assure him that the arrest warrant will not be executed.”

Adedipe urged the court to set aside the ex parte order of arrest it issued against Bello last week.

Last Wednesday, Justice Emeka Nwite issued an arrest warrant for Yahaya Bello.

Adedipe, however, stated that, as of the time the order of arrest was issued against his client, the charge had not been served on him as required by law.

“As of the time the warrant was issued, the order for substituted service had not been made. That order was just made this morning.”

Pinheiro, on his part, urged the court to refuse the application unless the defendant made himself available for his trial.

He stated that the defendant cannot stay in hiding and file numerous applications for his arrest warrant to be vacated.

He held that Bello should not be heard on the application.

He said: “The main issue should be ascertaining the whereabouts of the defendant. All these applications he is filing are nothing but dilatory tactics intended to delay his arraignment and frustrate the proceedings.

“Our position is that the defendant should be denied the right of being heard until he is physically present before this court.”

Pinehero also held that, as stated in Section 396 of the ACJA, 2015, the court cannot effectively assume jurisdiction to decide any application or objection in the matter until the defendant is arraigned.

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