Bwala Faults EFCC’s Disregard for Rule of Law, Media Trial of Yahaya Bello

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Mr Daniel Bwala, former Spokesman of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday faulted the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) disregard for rule of law and the media trial of former Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state.

Bwala, a lawyer and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, made the remarks in his discussion in an interview on Wednesday.

The EFCC had accused Bello of allegedly misappropriating the sum of N80 billion on assumption of office in Jan. 27, 2016 and other allegations.

There have been legal battles between the two over whether Bello should be arrested, detained and prosecuted over the alleged fraud with contrasting court orders.

The EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, during a media briefing on Tuesday had vowed to resign if he fails to prosecute Bello, whom he accused of evading arrest, detention and prosecution.

“What he did and everything he said during the news conference has no consequential effect in the court of law, even if the media go out and conclude that Yahaya Bello has committed those crimes.

“The EFCC chairman knows that in criminal trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof to prove the element of the offenses in the charge.

“The standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt. And what you need to establish that are cogent and compelling evidence should be done in the courtroom.

“That is the very reason why people can conclude by his media briefing that he actually does not want to prosecute the Yahaya Bello.

“Again,by what he did yesterday, he has given materials to Bello to use against him in the court of law.

“We don’t even want to bring the politics of it. Bello can come out and say, since he has called me personally, then | want to tell the world that he has actually asked me for money,’ he said

According to him, Bello is still at large and yet to present himself on grounds that he has a Kogi High Court Injunction withholding them (EFCC ) from persecuting or charging or arresting him.

He said only that Tuesday, the Federal High Court fixed May 20 to rule on the argument of the bench warrant of arrest issued to EFCC on Bello .

“The import of what transpired in court based on this fact now is that it is superfluous for EFCC to be looking for Yahaya Bello. EFCC is just to wait and come that day to hear the ruling .

“If it does not, then Bello, on that day, in any case, will appear before the court and now be arraigned before the court.

“Now, what it means is that any day after that yesterday, any effort by EFCC to attempt to arrest the Bello will amount to violating the due process of law.

“This is because where parties have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, they have to allow the court to run proceedings, and therefore they cannot run the proceedings for the court.

“These are matters of law. These are matters that at least new entrants in the legal department of EFCC ought to know. So the question now is, what is EFCC trying to achieve?

“I gave a good example. Yahaya Bello has an order that has not been set aside. The order says that he should not be arrested, he should not be prosecuted.

“The EFCC does not believe that that order should be sustained. The EFCC challenged that order. That challenge has not been determined by court. Now, attempting to arrest him when that has not been determined is violation of the rule of law.

“They also have another order to arrest him. And that order to arrest him has now been brought before a court in which counter-argument was made and court adjourned for ruling. What is the import of that? So you have coalition of judicial voices.

“And these courts that have given the various orders are courts of coordinated jurisdiction, which each other’s decision does not bind the other. So we are not even going into the administration of the federal high court as to how do you deal with this kind of conflicting order.

“All these orders are valid and subsisting until they are set aside. But you see, all of them have been overtaken by event because before this court, it has been adjourned for ruling, ” Bwala said.


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