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Former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello has refuted allegations regarding the payment of school fees for his children from the state coffers.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, the Chairman of the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, alleged that Bello withdrew funds from the Kogi State Government account to pay his children’s school fees before leaving office.

In response, Yahaya, in a statement titled “Payment for school fees: Setting the records straight” and signed Friday by Ohiare Michael, denied the allegations.

The statement partly read, “While we reserve our rights to seek redress against the said defamatory statements, permit us to briefly state the following to set the records straight: “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.

“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.

“The payment of the fees was not effected at about the time his Excellency was to leave office as claimed by Mr. Olukoyede but same commenced in 2021.

“Alhaji Yahaya Bello DID NOT pay the fees of his Children with monies from the Coffers of the Kogi State Government.

“When the EFCC approached the American International School Abuja (AISA) to illegally recover funds legitimately paid by Alhaji Yahaya Bello and other family members, a member of the family challenged the EFCC’s unlawful acts to recover funds legitimately paid. The FCT High Court, in Suit No.

“FCT/HC/2574/2023 between: Mr. Ali Bello v. The Incorporated Trustees of American International School, Abuja, held that AISA could not lawfully and unilaterally refund to a third party, including the EFCC, fees paid by the parties to the suit.

“The Court subsequently mandated AISA to continue to provide the services it had been paid with respect to the fees.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that no money belonging to Alhaji Yahaya Bello or his family members with regard to school fees has been recovered by the EFCC.

“Now, let it be known that, contrary to misleading narratives by the EFCC, all the documents published online i.e. receipts and letters, that the EFCC has released online, in furtherance of its unrelenting persecution of the former Governor, are documents filed by lawyers in the suit instituted on behalf of Alhaji Yahaya Bello and others who paid fees for their wards under the Advance Fee Payment Agreement with AISA. Those documents, having been filed by his lawyers, are thus public documents, which show that His Excellency, Yahaya Bello, has nothing to hide with regard to the payment of advance fees for his children. This unending harassment and persecution, even while in office, were among key reasons he sought to enforce his fundamental human rights.

“We state that the payment of these fees and the legitimacy thereof is the subject matter of Charge No. FHC/CR/573/2022, filed by the EFCC since 15th December 2022 at the Federal High Court, Abuja. The Charge is pending and the Court has yet to make any finding or convicted anyone in respect of the said sum.”

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