Mr. Bello was arraigned on a two count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence and forgery.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Monday, arraigned a former Kogi Central senatorial candidate, under the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Abdulazeez Bello, before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja.
Mr. Bello was arraigned on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence and forgery, contrary to section 363 of the Criminal Laws No 34 Vol. 44 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr. Bello, 49, was arrested recently by operatives of the State Security Services, SSS, at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Lagos, for allegedly impersonating the Director of Operations of the EFCC, Olaolu Adegbite.
He was at the hotel premises to allegedly further an advance fee fraud scheme targeted at Mercy Orji, wife of the Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji.
He reportedly posed as the EFCC’s Director of Operations with a fake identity card bearing the name of Mr. Adegbite.
Reports from the SSS indicated that Mr. Bello was arrested on January 27, 2013 while negotiating with some aides of his would-be victim. He was later handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
At the EFCC’s office, the politician-turned conman said that he was working with one Nelson Ndukwe and Chuks Offor, both aides of Mrs. Orji to perfect his nefarious agenda of swindling her. He confessed that he impersonated the EFCC’s Director of Operations.
“I’m sorry that I impersonated the Operations Director of the EFCC. I did it to be able to arrest Mrs. Orji’s assistants who are said to be working for her to launder money. It was my first time of doing this. EFCC should help me out of this”, he said.
The EFCC Counsel, ABC Ozioko, asked the court to fix a date for trial and remand the defendant in prison custody.
Counsel to the defendant, C. O. Taiwo, said he had already filed an application for bail and prayed the court to grant the defendant bail on liberal terms. Mr. Ozioko, however, opposed the bail application on the grounds that Mr. Bello may abscond owing to the seriousness of the case.
In his ruling, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500, 000 and two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be a grade level 12 officer in the civil service and must have a landed property in Lagos. The two sureties must be resident in Lagos State.