Witness ill-health stalls trial of Yahaya Bello’s nephew


A witness called by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Rabiu Tafada, shocked many in court on Tuesday when he said he was no longer feeling well while giving his testimony.

The situation forced the trial judge to adjourn the case to allow the witness to attend to his health.

Tafada, who is a bureau de change operator, is the third witness prosecution witness in the alleged N10 billion fraud charge against Ali Bello, nephew of former Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, and others.

The EFCC had, on December 15, 2022, arraigned Bello, a nephew of former Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello and Suleiman, on 10 counts of alleged misappropriation and money laundering.

The anti-graft agency accused Bello, alongside Hudu, a cashier at the Kogi State Government House who is at large of withdrawing N10 billion from the state’s treasury for personal use.

At the proceedings on Tuesday, Tafada, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) said he was familiar with the defendants but could not recall the details of the transactions they had together.

During the examination, the prosecution counsel asked the witness if he recalled some EFCC operatives who came to his office in 2023 to which he responded yes.

He was further asked if he remembered some documents that were taken from his office, and the witness also said yes.

Oyedepo then sought to tender the documents recovered from his office as evidence which was rejected by the defendants, stating that the notebooks contained loose sheets.

The counsel for the defendants, Z.E Abass and Nureini Jimoh (SAN) said they would reserve their other reasons until the final address.

When asked to confirm what was written in the books, the witness said that he could not do so because he was not the person who recorded the book’s contents.

He stated that he could neither read nor write, adding that his boys took down all the records.

When asked about a man identified as Sunny Benghazi and the N15 million recorded against his name, the witness said he could not recall the transaction.

Tafada also told the court that he did not know anyone named Abdulsalami Hudu or his driver.

Suddenly Tafada told the court that he was not feeling well as he had high blood pressure.

The judge, James Omotoso, asked an official of the court to get him water, which he drank.

Omotosho then adjourned the matter till February 13, 22, and 23 for continuation of trial.

The judge asked the witness to use the opportunity of the adjournment to attend to his health and familiarise himself with the transactions that he said his boys recorded for him in the tendered exhibits.

Mike Ojo

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