Former Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello Denies EFCC Allegations of Misusing State Funds

Former Kogi governor Yahaya Bello denies EFCC's allegations of misusing state funds to pay his children's school fees, providing documentation to show legitimate payments. The case highlights Nigeria's efforts to combat corruption.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Former Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello Denies EFCC Allegations of Misusing State Funds

Former Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello Denies EFCC Allegations of Misusing State Funds

Former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has strongly denied allegations made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he used state funds to pay his children's school fees at the American International School in Abuja. Bello maintains that the payments, which commenced in 2021, were legitimate and not made just before he left office as claimed by the EFCC.

The EFCC had alleged that Bello withdrew $720,000 from the state's accounts to pay his children's school fees in advance before leaving office on January 27, 2024. The commission is prosecuting Bello on 19 counts of alleged money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds totaling N80.2 billion.

However, Bello's media office has provided documentation showing that the payments were made by Bello and his family members, not with Kogi State Government funds. "My children have been attending the school before I became governor, and I have paid their fees as and when due since 2021, not just before leaving office," Bello stated.

The American International School Abuja has confirmed that it received advance tuition payments of $845,852 from a family with children enrolled at the school. The school turned over $760,910 of the funds to the EFCC after learning that the fees were part of an ongoing case, but emphasized that the school itself has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Why this matters: The allegations against Bello and the involvement of the American International School Abuja highlight the ongoing efforts by Nigerian authorities to combat corruption and misuse of public funds by government officials. The case also underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in the management of state resources.

Bello has filed a lawsuit challenging the EFCC's attempt to recover the school fees, and a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja has restrained the school from returning the funds to the commission. The former governor insists he has nothing to hide and is awaiting the EFCC to prove its allegations in court. "I have followed due process in line with the rule of law. No amount of blackmail will intimidate me," Bello declared.

Key Takeaways

  • Bello denies EFCC allegations of using state funds for children's school fees.
  • Bello claims payments were made by him and family, not from Kogi state funds.
  • American International School Abuja confirms receiving $845,852 in advance tuition payments.
  • Bello files lawsuit challenging EFCC's attempt to recover the school fees.
  • Bello insists he has followed due process and awaits EFCC to prove allegations in court.