Fraud: EFCC Confirms Refund Of $760,910 Paid To American International School By Former Kogi State Governor

By Lateef Adegbite

  After several months of behind the scene maneuvering Ola Olukoyede, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission appears to have secured a major victory for the anti-graft agency.  This is because the agency which through its painstaking investigations had approached the American International School, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, AISA, for refund of the more than $760,00, equivalent of N80.2 billion paid by Yahaya Bello, a former governor of Kogi state, to the American Internal School, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory , AISA,  for his children advanced school fees had been recovered.

Although the school, according an insider accepts a maximum of two years advance school fees but Bello, the immediate past Kogi state governor took appears to have taken advantage of being governor and who had access to the state funds to pay for several years, up till 20234/35. He may have paid for the many years to ensure that his children will pass through the elitist school without out any financial problem even when he is out of office. 

Olukoyede: Executive Chairman, EFCC

Unknown to him, filtered had filtered to the ears of Olukoyede, the EFCC Chairman,that he had beamed his searchlight on the AISA, to get to the root of the matter.  The confirmation that the former Kogi state governor actually paid such huge foreign exchange to the school to cover his children advance school fees for years may have emboldened the Commission boss to set the machinery in motion to recover the monies from the school.

 He was said to have had his way despites denials and blackmails by the former north central state of Kogi camp that the money was not  paid to the elitist school meant for children of the rich when he was about to complete his second term in office on May 29, 2023.  The argument by the former Media handlers was that he had always paid his children’s school fees in the AISA, as and when due.

 Dele Oyewale, EFCC, spokesperson, may have made mockery of Ohiare Michael, an ally of the  former Kogi state  governor who had said that governor had always  paid his children advance school fees at the the AISA without fail  when revealed that the agency had recovered the more than 760,000 paid illegitimately to AISA by the erstwhile Kogi state governor.

As a prelude to recovering the huge forex paid to AISA  by Former governor  Bello, Oyewale, the anti-graft agency spokesperson had said  that  in its October 24, 2022,  letter the school Authorities, the school in return had asked the agency  ‘’to provide  its authentic details based on its investigation  into the money laundering  activities against  the former governor and his family  for the refund to be  paid.

Given an insider information on how the monies was paid to the AISA by Bello, who had left office on May 29, 2023, as Kogi state governor, the EFCC , Image maker had disclosed that  the sum of $845,852, was  paid to the school  between September  and October 2022.

The school was said to have deducted   the educational services charges rendered between the period, with the remaining amount being $760,910, which was said to be the over payment.   

The EFCC Authorities were said to have provided the relevant documents demanded by the school based on its findings which was said to have facilitated the refund of the excess $760,910 to the school. Greg Hughes, the Head of the School, had Corroborated what Oyewale, the EFCC spokesperson  had said on Saturday, April 2, 2024,  paid by the former Kogi state governor to the EFCC.that the school  had returned  the excess $60,910. The no nonsense EFCC boss had repeatedly vowed    to rosecute the former governor to its logical conclusion   for allegedly withdrawing $720,000, to pay his children school fees  in advance  just before he left office  on January 2, 2023 or resign , 

At present,  the anti-graft agency is prosecuting  the former Kogi state governor  on 19  count charge bordering  on alleged money laundering , breach of trust  in office and  misappropriation of  government funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

Hughes: Head AISA

 Greg Hughes, Head, AISA, who could not hide his feelings was said to have acknowledged the sensitive nature of the ongoing case between the EFCC and the former Kogi state governor, had confirmed that the school actually accepted an advance payment for school fees from the former governor and his family which was said to have been properly documented in the school records.

He was emphatic that as a school, it accepts advance payment for school fees and duly documented these fees in its records: It was therefore not very surprising that that when the Commission requested for a refund of the excess amount paid by then governor to the school it did not hesitate in doing so.

 ‘’We have since returned the over payment to the school by Bello and his family to the EFCC, incompliance with a request to carry out investigations’’, Hughes, the school Head had said.  According to him, the school had returned the funds to the EFCC,’’ in compliance with its request’’, stating that it underscores its commitment   to upholding Constitutional integrity and respect for the national institutions of Nigeria’’.

The school noted that ‘’it had nothing to hide in the matter between the EFCC and Bello, the former Kogi state governor   and has been cooperating with the agency to address the matter.        

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