Obi urges anti-graft agencies to focus on grand theft

• Lauds EFCC boss for courage to expose treasury looters
• Bello loses bid to transfer trial to Kogi

Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi, has urged anti-graft agencies to beam their searchlight on grand theft and corruption in government as well as public asset management.
 
He commended the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, over his alarm on the massive looting of the treasury and assets by public officials in Nigeria.
 
Meanwhile, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has dismissed an application by former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, seeking to transfer his N80.2 billion fraud case from Abuja to Kogi division of the court. The judge directed that the request of Bello in the case instituted against him by EFCC to Kogi State be presented in open court.
 
Writing on his X-handle, yesterday, Obi said: “The recent alarm raised by the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, on the massive looting of our treasury and assets by public officials in Nigeria deserves commendation.
 
“I have consistently advocated prioritising tackling grand corruption, which has ravaged our economy and impoverished our citizens. I urge anti-graft agencies to focus on investigating grand theft and corruption in government and public asset management, such as oil theft, budget padding, contract inflation, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.”
 
According to him, it is also crucial to rein in those who engage in cronyism and nepotism, adding that lesser agencies can handle minor cases of petty theft and money spraying at parties.
 
Bello is facing 19 counts bordering on money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of N80.2 billion public funds in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024, before Justice Emeka Nwite.
 
Although the ex-governor had issued statements denying the allegation, he failed to appear before Nwite on June 13 and 27, for his arraignment.
 
At the last hearing, Bello, through his counsel, Abdulwahab Muhammed (SAN), filed an application dated June 10, 2024, to the Chief Judge for the transfer of his trial to the Federal High Court, Lokoja.
 
In a letter addressed to Abdulwahab Muhammed SAN, and Musa Yakubu SAN, the Chief Judge drew the attention of the former governor’s counsels to a pending appeal in the case: Yahaya Adoza Bello Vs FRN wherein the defendant had sought a consequential order remitting the case to the Chief Judge for reassignment.
 
The letter, signed by Special Assistant to the CJ, Joshua Ibrahim AJI, Esq, said as a result of this, it would be improper to take any step that would be tantamount to pre-empting the outcome of the Appeal.
 
“There is documentary evidence of a pending appeal in the case Yahaya Adoza Bello Vs FRN filed on 17/05/2024 wherein the defendant as Appellant has sought a consequential order remitting the case to the Chief Judge for reassignment. It is not proper to take any step that will tantamount to pre-empting the outcome of the Appeal.
 
“The main issue raised is jurisdictional in nature and will be more appropriately decided by the court. The matter should therefore be presented in open court,” the CJ stated.
 
The Chief Judge noted that the main offence alleged bordered on conversion of Kogi State funds to purchase properties in Abuja, and that the filing of the charge could either be in Abuja or Lokoja.

The post Obi urges anti-graft agencies to focus on grand theft appeared first on Guardian Nigeria News.

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