EFCC withdraws appeal against order restraining Yahaya Bello’s arrest

Photo illustration of Yahaya Bello (L) and Ola Olukoyede (R)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has withdrawn the appeal it filed before the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division against the interim injunction that barred it from arresting the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

EFCC, in its notice of discontinuance dated April 22, said its resolution to terminate further proceedings on the appeal, was based on the fact that the initial order a Kogi State High Court made in favour of the former governor, has been overtaken by events.

The commission also said the appeal it filed against the interim order was filed outside the time allowed by law.

The withdrawal process before the appellate court read, “The appellant herein intends to and do hereby wholly withdraw her appeal against the respondent in the above-mentioned appeal.

“This notice of withdrawal is predicated on the fact that; on the 17th of April 2024, the application filed by the appellant herein was overtaken by the decision of the same high court of Kogi State in the case of Alhaji Yahaya Bello Vs EFCC- Suit No: HCL/68m/2024, per A. I. Jamil.

“The orders made ex parte by Jamil on the 9th of February 2024 in said suit which is the subject of this appeal, was made to last pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion on notice which was finally determined by Jamil J. on the 17th April 2024.

“Furthermore, the notice of appeal was filed out of time and we, therefore, pray that the appeal be struck out for being filed out of time and incompetent.”

Recall that Bello had filed a fundamental human rights suit against the EFCC to protect himself from being arrested and detained.

The court, in a ruling it delivered on February 9, issued an interim order that restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining, persecuting or prosecuting the Applicant over the subject matter of the charge against him, pending the determination of the suit.

Though the EFCC filed an appeal to set aside the interim order, the court, on April 17, delivered its judgement on Bello’s substantive suit.

“An order is hereby granted enforcing the Fundamental Rights of the applicant to liberty and freedom of movement and fair hearing, by restraining the Respondent (EFCC) by themselves, their agents, servants or privies from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain or in any manner whatsoever arresting, detaining or prosecuting the Applicant based on the criminal charges now pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja to wit; Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022 between FRN v. Ali Bello & Anor, without prejudice to the power of the said Federal High Court, to make any Order as it may deem just in the determination of the rights of the Applicant and the Respondent as may be submitted to her for consideration and determination.

“An Order is hereby granted directing the Respondent to bring before the said Federal High Court, or any such appropriate Court, such criminal Charge, allegation or Complaint in respect whereof the Applicant is reasonably believed by the Respondent to have committed any offence subject of its jurisdiction, provided that the Respondent shall not invite, arrest or detain the Applicant on account of a reasonable belief that the Applicant has committed any financial crime, without first obtaining the leave of a superior Court of Record, especially haven regard to the antecedents of the Respondent in the manner it has managed its engagements with the Applicant,” the Kogi state high court held.

On the same day the judgement was delivered, EFCC approached Justice Emeka Nwite for an arrest warrant on Bello, which he granted.

However, the EFCC failed to arrest Bello as he was carted off his premises by someone with immunity.

Bello is facing trial at the Federal High Court Abuja on a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.