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Alleged money laundering: Court adjourns Ali Bello, co-defendant’s trial



A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday adjourned an amended money-laundering charge preferred against Ali Bello and his co-defendant, Daudu Sulaiman, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) until July 15.

Justice James Omotosho adjourned the matter for trial continuation after the EFCC’s witness, Olom Otane Egoro, an Access Bank staff, was cross-examined by the defence counsel.

It would be recalled that on Ma 6, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, had presented Egoro from the Compliance Unit of the bank as the 6th prosecution witness (PW6) of the commission.

The banker, while being led in evidence, had told the court that the EFCC, via a letter, requested for the bank statements of the Kogi Government House, for the period of 2018 to 2021.

He said the commission also asked for other documents, including the account opening mandate for the account and certificate of compliance in respect of the printouts.

The witness thereafter went through the statement of account, detailing the various deposits into and withdrawals from same via transfers and cash.

From his evidence, Egoro had said the withdrawals were N10 million each in different tranches.

The witness, however, did not state who deposited the monies, what the monies were deposited for or who withdrew the same and for what purpose before concluding his testimony in the last adjourned date.

Oyedepo had tendered the documents through the witness and were admitted in evidence accordingly and today was fixed for cross-examination.

However, during the cross-examination by Abubakar Aliyu, SAN, counsel for the 1st defendant (Ali Bello) on Thursday, Egoro admitted there was no lodgement or withdrawal linked to Bello in the exhibit before him.

The witness equally admitted that the staff of compliance unit of the bank are not the ones that run and maintain the servers of the bank where information on bank transactions are generated from.

He added that it was the duty of the bank’s ICT Department to manage the bank servers.

Lawyer to the 2nd defendant (Suleiman), Olusegun Jolaawo, SAN, equally cross-examined the PW6.

After the defence counsel completed their cross-examination, Justice Omotosho discharged Egoro from the witness box and adjourned the matter until July 15 and July 16 for trial continuation.

It would be recalled that Ali Bello and Dauda Suleiman, in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022, are standing trial on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering brought against them by the anti-graft agency.

Taiye Agbaje

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