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American International School Agrees To Refund Over $760,000 From Money Paid By Yahaya Bello For Children’s Tuition | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Apr 26, 2024

 

 

 

In December 2023, SaharaReporters exclusively reported the EFCC had seized $760,910.84 from the money that Bello paid to American International School, Abuja, as prepaid school fees for four children until graduation, over alleged money laundering.

The American International School Abuja agreed to refund $760,910.84 paid for children’s tuition in advance by the former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, as revealed in a letter sent by the school to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In December 2023, SaharaReporters exclusively reported the EFCC had seized $760,910.84 from the money that Bello paid to American International School, Abuja, as prepaid school fees for four children until graduation, over alleged money laundering.

The anti-graft agency had contacted the school requesting a refund of the money believed to have been proceeds of corruption.

In a reply letter from the school marked as exhibit H, it requested the EFCC to furnish it with an official written request to the effect and to also forward the commission’s bank details for a refund.

The reply letter seen by SaharaReporters read 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 dictated as part of your alleged money laundering activities by the Bello family.

“Since the 7th September 2021 to date $845,852.84 in tuition and other fees has 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.”

The EFCC had asked the school to refund the $845,000 paid by Bello for his children’s tuition.

Documents obtained by SaharaReporters last December showed that Governor Bello through his nephew, Mr Ali Bello had entered an agreement with the school to pay tuition for his four children up to graduation in advance to secure their future.

The agreement was signed and executed on August 23, 2021. Following the execution of the agreement, a total of $845.852.84 was paid into the school account in varied instalments.

However, the anti-corruption agency as part of its oversight function, subsequently invited the school authorities for a series of interviews connected with the funds through a letter dated September 7, 2023, after about one year.

Sources told SaharaReporters that during the interrogation of officials of the school, the EFCC noted that the advanced school fees were proceeds of crime. It said that the school was being used as an unwitting money laundering tool and demanded that it should refund the monies to the agency through a dedicated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“During the interviews, the EFCC further informed the school authorities that the commission was empowered to seize the total funds or any portion thereof.

“Following a review of the academic history of Governor Bello’s children with the school, the EFCC accepted that fees paid in relation to ongoing school sessions at the time did not amount to proceeds of crime and exempted the sum of $84.942.00.

“Subsequently, the commission made a demand for transfer of the of $760.910.84, representing advance tuition payment to its nominated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria,” documents obtained by SaharaReporters show.

Following the development, the school management wrote a letter dated October 27, 2022, to the EFCC, requesting an official written demand for the refund of the monies, but the anti-graft agency provided an account to which the monies should be paid.

The school first paid $1,000 and later paid the remaining $759,91084 to the account.

Meanwhile, Ali Bello is being prosecuted by the EFCC over a N3 billion fraud.

Ali Bello was arraigned in February alongside others at the Federal High Court on 18 counts of money laundering and misappropriation of about N3 billion.

The other co-defendants are Abba Adauda, Yakubu Adabenege, and Iyada Sadat. Another defendant, Rashida Bello, is at large.

SaharaReporters also exclusively reported in December 2023 how Ali Bello sued the American International School over an alleged breach of contractual Agreement for prepaid school fees until graduation duly executed in 2021.

It was reported that he was seeking among others N100 million in damages against the school authorities for refunding the sum of $760,910.84 paid to the school account towards the education of Governor Bello’s children to a third party, EFCC, without any court order or his consent.

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