May 29, 2024

Fleeing Ex-Kogi Governor, Bello Denies Paying $720,000 to AISA, EFCC Confirms Refund from School, as Receipt Surfaces Online

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Hahaha Bello, accused of large scale corruption by EFCC

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As former Governor Yahaya Bello continues to run from the law, receipts have emerged online showing how allegedly paid $845,000 for five children to attend the American International School of Abuja.

The fees were reportedly paid in advance from the coffers of the Kogi governor from the state’s coffers until 2035.

Former Kogi senator, Dino Melaye; and US-based Nigerian media personality, Adeola Fayehun; shared the claim via their respective channels on Friday, April 26.

Also, the alleged monumental fraud by the ex governor has attracted the call of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the accounts of all states to expose governors who were using state funds to pay their children’s school fees and other domestic purposes.

Some alleged receipts issued by AISA to Ex Governor Yahaya Bello

SERAP made the call in a statement released on its official X handle, the right group said that the school where the funds were paid should be made to refund the money if any such incident was discovered.

According to reports monitored by Midwest Herald, The American International School of Abuja has paid $760,910.84 to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from the $845,852 school fees allegedly deposited by former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello in respect of five of his children in the school.

Bello is being prosecuted by the commission for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of N80.2 billion.

The $845,852 is alleged to have been stolen from the Kogi State Government coffers.

The $845,852 was allegedly paid to the school by Bello in August 2021 to cover the education of four of his children in the school and another one “to be enrolled in August 2022 if application successful (sic) and there is space available.”

The fees were to cover a period of 14 years (2021–2035), according to documents filed in court by the EFCC to support its case against the ex-governor.

“The American school refunded the school fees in two tranches. Initially, it returned $720,000 to the EFCC and later $40,910,” a report quoted a source in EFCC.

“Following mutual agreement with the EFCC, the school decided to retain some fees ($84,942) for its services.

“This is one of the aspects of our investigation which made us to ask Bello to come for interaction. But it is already part of our documents frontloaded to the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Dele Oyewale has also confirmed refunds by the management of the school where the ex governor made advanced payments to.

“The school has refunded $760,910 to this commission. The school officially sent a letter of offer to refund to the Lagos Zonal Commander of the EFCC before effecting the payment.”

The letter said in part: “Please forward to us an official written request, with the authentic banking details of the EFCC, for the refund of the above-mentioned funds as previously indicated as part of your investigation into the alleged money laundering activities by the Bello family.

“Since the 7th September 2021 to date, $845,852.84 in tuition and other fees have been deposited into our bank account.

“We have calculated the net amount to be transferred and refunded to the state after deducting the educational services rendered as $760,910.84.

“No further additional fees are expected in respect of tuition as the students’ fees have now been settled until they graduate from AISA.”

One of the documents submitted to the court by the EFCC is an alleged agreement between one Ali Bello and the school for “Prepaid school fees until graduation.”

The agreement dated August 23, 2021 reads in part: “Mr. Ali Bello contracted the AISA (American International School of Abuja) on Friday 13 August 2021 requesting to pay the Bello family school fees in advance until the students graduate from High School.

“The request was forwarded to the Head of School, Mr.Greg Hughes, who consulted with the Board President Mr. Kevin Bragg.

“It was decided by the School Management to accept Mr. Bello’s offer with the necessary conditions set out by both parties:

Names of the students and their current grade level for the academic year 2021/22 which commenced Thursday 12 August 2021:

  1. Farid Bello Grade 8
  2. Zahra Bello Grade 6
  3. Na’Ima Bello Grade 4
  4. Nana-Fatima Bello Grade 2
  5. Future student to be enrolled in August 2022 if application successful and there is space available-Zayyan Ali Bello Pre-School.

There were nine conditions the Yahaya Bello and his children were supposed to meet to guarantee that the agreement remains perpetual,

Mr. Greg Hughes signed or AISA, while Mr. Ali Bello on behalf of the Bello family.

But yesterday, Bello vehemently denied the allegation yesterday and vowed that he would not succumb to any blackmail to “come through the backdoor.”

Responding to the EFCC allegations, Yahaya Bello’s Media Office vowed in a statement that no amount of blackmail would make him “come through the back door”

The statement said specifically that: “His Excellency, Yahaya Bello’s children have attended the American International School, Abuja well before he became Governor and he has paid fees for his children as and when due and without fail.”

He also denied that Bello didn’t pay $720,000 as being alleged by EFCC.

“His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello did not pay the sum of USD720,000 as alleged by the EFCC Chairman or USD840,000 as is being bandied about on the internet.” Yahaya said.

Read Also: Fugitive Yahaya Bello: Ex-Governors Don’t Have Immunity – Falana

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