American School writes EFCC, to refund Yahaya Bello’s $760,000 children’s school fees

The American International School of Abuja has offered to refund N1.1 billion ($760,000) to Kogi from former Governor Yahaya Bello’s children’s school fees after confirming that the erstwhile governor paid $845,000.

In a letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the school stated it would return $760,000 to the Kogi state treasury as part of their investigation into Mr Bello’s alleged money laundering activities.

The EFCC had accused the ex-governor of looting $720,000 from the Kogi state treasury to pay his children’s tuition fees. This month, the anti-corruption agency laid siege to Mr Bello’s Abuja residence and was unsuccessful in securing his arrest. It later declared the ex-governor wanted, with the police announcing the withdrawal of Mr Bello’s security details.

According to the letter, dated October 24, 2022, the school informed the EFCC that the remaining $85,000 had already been used for educational services provided to the governor’s children in less than one year.

The school also confirmed that from September 7, 2021, to the date of the letter, $845,852.84 was paid in tuition and other fees for six of the governor’s children attending the school.

Therefore, the school requested that the anti-graft agency forward an official written request, with the genuine banking details of the EFCC, for a refund.

The school’s letter said, “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 (Eight Hundred and Forty Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Two US Dollars and eighty four cents) in tuition and other fees has been deposited into our Bank account.”

“It added, “We have calculated the net amount to be transferred and refunded to the State, after deducting the educational services rendered as $760,910.84. (Seven Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ten US Dollars and Eighty Four cents).

“No further additional fees are expected in respect of tuition as the students’ fees have now been settled until they graduate from ASiA, Should any further deposits be made into ASIA’S bank account/s, we will disclose and inform you immediately without delay.”

Meanwhile, Bello, has released a statement to clarify what he deemed misleading regarding allegations surrounding the payment of school fees for his children.

The embattled former governor in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Ohiare Michael, said the payment of the fees was not effected when he was about to leave office.

The statement titled  “Payment for school fees:Setting the records straid”, partly read, “While we reserve our rights to seek redress against the said defamatory statements, permit us to briefly state the following for the purpose of setting 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 shows 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.”

Culled from ir