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EFCC counsels pick new date, said ‘today not convenient’ – Yahaya Bello’s counsels

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EFCC counsels pick new date, said ‘today not convenient’ – Yahaya Bello’s counsels

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Court adjourns to June 27 for arraignment

The Federal High Court, in Abuja, on Thursday, adjourned arraignment of the former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, on an alleged money laundering case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to June 27, following an agreement by the counsels of the two parties.

A new date, June 27, had earlier been reportedly fixed for arraignment at the instance of the EFCC counsels.

There was, however, a mild drama in court when Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, announced appearance for EFCC and claimed ignorance of the agreement.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Counsel to Governor Bello, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, told the court that the EFCC lawyers approached AbdulWahab Mohammed SAN, who is the counsel for the defendant, that the June 13 date would not be convenient for them to proceed and that Wahab had to agree by way of convenience for another date to be set.

Adedipe SAN, who was in court for another matter, was surprised when he heard that Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, was in court for the Yahaya Bello/EFCC case.

“They (EFCC) agreed that junior counsels would be sent to court today to formally pick a date. And the registry can confirm this,” Adedipe said.

“Kemi Pinhero SAN has been calling us to say today is not convenient,” he added. Kemi Pinhero is the lead counsel.

But for the decision of the EFCC to seek an adjournment to a future date for his arraignment, Governor Yahaya Bello, was said to be ready to appear in court today.

“Under 266 ACJA there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them. We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe noted.

In a strange twist, however, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, said he was not aware of any meeting that happened outside the court, that he did not know about the understanding to adjourn till 27th.

Justice Nwite thereafter adjourned the case to June 27 after an undertaking by Adedipe SAN that the defendant would appear on that day.

Nwite said, ordinarily, an agreement outside the court that a new date should be picked should not be enough to ignore the previous undertaking.

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