The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today, arraigned the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello, before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
Bello who was docked along with his son, Abba, on a four-count criminal charge bordering on alleged N300million fraud, took his plea in a wheelchair.
They are facing trial alongside a firm, BAM Projects and Properties Limited.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the accused persons, through the firm, withdrew the sum of N300m from an account the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The fund was said to have been transferred to the accused persons, 11 days to the 2015 presidential election, by the embattled former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd.
Both Bello and his Son, pleaded not guilty to the charge dated December 23 but amended on December 30, 2015.
Meantime, trial Justice Ahmed Mohammed has okayed 30 minutes stand-down on the matter to entertain arguments on whether or not the accused persons should be granted bail.
EFCC lawyer, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf had immediately after the duo took their plea, urged the court to remand them in prison custody pending their trial.
However, counsel to the defendants, O. Osoka and Abdulaziz Ibrahim, opposed FG’s remand application, saying their clients already filed separate motions for bail.
“The 3rd defendant is willing and ready to stand his trial, but we vehemently oppose the application to remand him in prison custody”, counsel to the former PDP boss, Ibrahim, maintained.
One of the charge against them read: “That you Bello Abba Mohammed, BAM Projects and Properties Ltd and Dr. Haliru Bello on or about 17th March 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court took possession of the sum of N300million paid into the account of BAM Projects and Properties Limited with Sterling Bank Plc from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the CBN when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki(rtd), the then National Security Adviser( to wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section (15) (3) of the same Act”.
More details soon.