How Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Body, EFCC, Seized Over $760,000 Paid By Kogi Governor Bello As Children’s Tuition To American International School Over Alleged Money Laundering

EXCLUSIVE: How Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Body, EFCC, Seized Over 0,000 Paid By Kogi Governor Bello As Children’s Tuition To American International School Over Alleged Money Laundering

Facts have emerged on how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized the $760,910.84 that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State paid to American International School, Abuja, as prepaid school fees for four children until graduation, over alleged money laundering.

Documents obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday show that Governor Bello through his nephew, Mr Ali Bello had entered an agreement with the school to pay tuition for his four children up to graduation in advance to secure their future.

The agreement was signed and executed on August 23, 2021. Following the execution of the agreement, a total of $845.852.84 was paid into the school account in varied instalments.

However, the anti-corruption agency as part of its oversight function, subsequently invited the school authorities for a series of interviews connected with the funds through a letter dated September 7, 2023, after about one year.

Sources told SaharaReporters that during the interrogation of officials of the school, the EFCC noted that the advanced school fees were proceeds of crime. It said that the school was being used as an unwitting money laundering tool and demanded that it should refund the monies to the agency through a dedicated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“During the interviews, the EFCC further informed the school authorities that the commission was empowered to seize the total funds or any portion thereof.

“Following a review of the academic history of Governor Bello’s children with the school, the EFCC accepted that fees paid in relation to ongoing school sessions at the time did not amount to proceeds of crime and exempted the sum of $84.942.00. “Subsequently, the commission made a demand for transfer of the of $760.910.84, representing advance tuition payment to its nominated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria,” documents obtained by SaharaReporters show.

Following the development, the school management wrote a letter dated October 27, 2022, to the EFCC, requesting an official written demand for the refund of the monies, but the anti-graft agency provided an account to which the monies should be paid.

The school first paid $1,000 and later paid the remaining $759,91084 to the account.

Meanwhile, Ali Bello is being prosecuted by the EFCC over a N3 billion fraud.

Bello was arraigned in February alongside others at the Federal High Court on 18 counts of money laundering and misappropriation of about N3 billion.

The other co-defendants are Abba Adauda, Yakubu Adabenege, and Iyada Sadat. Another defendant, Rashida Bello, is at large.

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