Contempt: Appeal Court stops Yahaya Bello’s move to jail EFCC chairman


The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has stopped the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello from going ahead with his plan to jail the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede over alleged disobedience to a valid court order.

The intermediate appellate court gave the order stopping the on-going Yahaya Bello’s committal proceeding against the EFCC chair following an exparte application brought by the alleged contemnor.

The Court of Appeal, presided over by Justice Joseph Kayode Oyewole also granted a separate order permitting the EFCC and its chairman to serve its ruling on Yahaya Bello through substituted means.

The Court consequently fixed May 20, 2024 for the hearing of the motion on notice in the matter.

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that soon after the tenure of office of Governor Yahaya Bello expired late January, this year, the EFCC invited him for a chat over allegation of corruption.

But instead of Yahaya Bello to show up at the EFCC’s office, he went before a Kogi State high court to seek an order restraining the anti-graft agency from arresting him.

The trial high court judge on February 9, 2024 positively restrained the anti-graft agency together with its chairman from arresting Yahaya Bello pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit in the case.

But on April 17, 2024, EFCC operatives laid siege to the residence of the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, in Abuja as early as 8am with a bid to arrest him despite the court order restraining them from taking such action.

However, Yahaya Bello escaped arrest under circumstances that remain controversial till date.

Following the development, the angry EFCC on the order of its chairman, declared Yahaya Bello wanted.

Aggrieved Yahaya Bello through his lawyer also approached the court with an application to warn EFCC to desist from disobeying the order of the court through the service of Form 48 on the anti-graft agency.

Since EFCC proceeded with its plan to arrest Yahaya Bello, he commenced a committal proceeding against the EFCC and its chairman by filing Form 49 against the anti-graft agency.

Already, the Kogi State high court had summoned both the EFCC and its chairman to appear before it on May 13, 2024 to explain why the court should not jail him for treating a valid and subsisting order of the court on the issue with disdain.

It was at this point that both the EFCC and its Chairman ran to the Court of Appeal for its intervention.

Specifically, the EFCC prayed the intermediate appellate court to halt the on-going committal proceeding at the Kogi State high court pending the determination of the motion on notice filed in the case.

 The Appeal Court has since stopped, though temporarily, the trial high court from going ahead with the committal proceedings

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