Anti-Graft War: Yahaya Bello is not above the Law- Aondoakaa, SAN



Former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to comply with the subsisting order of the High Court of Kogi State, which has given direction on how to summon former Governor Yahaya Bello to court to answer corruption charges.

While commending the renewed vigour shown by the EFCC under its Chairman, Ola Olukoyede in the investigation and prosecution of corrupt cases, Aondoakaa is of the opinion that due process of the law must always be adopted, and that Bello must not necessarily be arrested by the EFCC before he’s prosecuted.

Aondoakaa who served as AGF between July 2007 – February 2010 under the Musa Yar’adua administration said he was happy that since the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had said that the Commission was not into media trial, he believes the EFCC ought to have a rethink in arresting the former governor since “the Kogi State High Court was very explicit about the procedure” it ought to follow in Bello’s case.

Aondoakaa who appeared on Thursday on Arise TV stressed that Bello is not above the law, he is a Nigerian and EFCC only need to follow the law, while emphasing that the anti-graft agency is well known worldwide. 

According to him, “I have read the judgement delivered by the Kogi State High Court and it is a ‘win- win situation’ for both parties.”

While giving his opinion on the judgement, he said: “The judgement said yes, I have granted your (Bello) fundamental human rights before the court at the Federal High Court instituted against you, filed in 2022 before Justice Omotosho, you should not be arrested. You should not be detained.

“Since the matter is in court, the court should serve you summons to appear. It is there in the ruling. It is for the court to serve summons, and the summons can be sent by DHL, so it’s no longer for the EFCC to get him arrested.

“So, I think the EFCC should do the right thing. Afterall the current leadership seems to be following the law. He’s a lawyer, he’ll do the right thing.”

According to Aondoakaa, once charges have been filed in court, the Commission cannot arrest again. 

He said it is still the court that can issue the summons and serve on the former governor.

He explained that if on the other hand Bello refuses to appear before the court, it is the same court that has the power to issue a bench warrant for his arrest, upon an application by the EFCC.

“The moment the bench warrant is issued for failure to answer the charges against him which are already before the court, then the Commission can go to arrest based on the bench warrant.

“So, I’m thinking that the wise thing to do in this matter is to follow the order of the High Court of Kogi State. I don’t even see it as necessary to appeal the order because I see the order as well balanced.

“And I also think, that after the controversy generated by the interlocutory ruling of the High Court in Lokoja, the trial judge in his wisdom clarified the position, and I believe EFCC will read the final ruling which was delivered on the 17th April and be properly guided,” he added.

Responding to who the EFCC reports to and who Olukoyede takes orders from, the AGF said the EFCC derives its powers from the Constitution of Nigeria and the enabling law.

He explained that the only people that interpret the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the enabling laws are judges.

He added that, “In this case, the only order EFCC will follow now is the prior order made by the Kogi State High Court which gave direction on how EFCC will proceed to arraign Yahaya Bello. Of course, they have done the arraignment, and former Governor Yahaya Bello is not above the law.”


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