The nephew of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Mr Ali Bello has sued the American International School, Abuja (AISA) over a breach of contractual Agreement for Prepaid School Fees Until Graduation duly executed in 2021.
He is seeking among others N100million 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, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) without any court order or his consent.
Ali Bello acting on behalf of the governor had entered into an agreement to pay the advanced school fees of the governor’s four children until graduation in the school.
However, barely one year after, the EFCC wrote the school and demanded that the money amounting to $760.910.84 should be refunded to a nominated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The school, however, reportedly paid the money to the said EFCC account with CBN without any court, thereby jeopardising the education of the said children as the institution had threatened to terminate the children’s education with the school if they failed to pay their tuition fees henceforth.
Governor Bello’s nephew, Ali and two others, are currently being prosecuted by the EFCC over a N3billion fraud.
Bello was arraigned alongside two others at the Federal High Court on 18 count charges of money laundering and misappropriation of about N3 billion.
Other co-defendants in the charge are: Abba Adauda, Yakubu Adabenege, and Iyada Sadat, Rashida Bello now at large.
Now following the breach of the agreement, Ali Bello has dragged the Incorporated Trustees of American International School Abuja before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in suit No: FCT/HC/CV/2574/2023, to declare that the fees paid by His Excellency, Yahaya Bello, cannot be forfeited or refunded to the government while in office as a governor, having not violated any law.
In the suit which commenced through Originating Summons, Bello’s through his lawyer, Zekeri Garuba Esq of Ahmed Raji & Co. formulated questions for determination before the court and sought for seven reliefs.
The three questions formulated for determinations are: “Whether upon a consideration of the ‘Agreement for Prepaid School Fees Until Graduation’ duly executed on 23rd August 2021 by the Claimant and the Defendant, parties are not legally bound by same?
“Whether without an order of Court, the Defendant can resile from its obligations as contained in the ‘Agreement for Prepaid School Fees Until Graduation’ duly executed on 23 August 2021, on account of a mere “Request for Refund” from a third party, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“Whether the Defendant by its unilateral action to wit; attempting to honour/or honouring the request for refund from a third party, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of balance of future fees paid by the Claimant and the Bello Family pursuant to the Agreement executed on 23/08/2021 without an Order of Court or instructions of the Claimant is not in breach of the said agreement between the parties.”
In determining the questions, the Claimant (Ali Bello) demanded for a payment of N100 million in damages against the school for the breach of the contractual agreement.
Among the Reliefs sought are: “A declaration that there is a binding contract between the Claimant and the Defendant in respect of prepaid school fees until graduation.
“A declaration that the Defendant cannot lawfully and unilaterally grant the “Request for Refund and pay over to a third Party, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or anyone howsoever described, the of $760.910.84 or any other sum paid pursuant to the Agreement for Prepaid School Fees until Graduation except in accordance with the said Agreement or upon an Order of Court.
“A declaration that any refund/payment of the sum of $760,910.84 (Seven Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ten Dollars, Eighty-Four Cents) or any other sum made to a third party, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or any other person, however described pursuant to any ‘Request for Refund or howsoever described without the Order of a Court or agreement of the Claimant is in breach of the ‘Agreement for Prepaid School Fees until graduation’ executed on 23/8/2021
“A declaration that the fees paid by His Excellency Yahaya Bello cannot be forfeited or refunded to the government, any of its institutions or anybody however described while in office as Governor.
“AN order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant, whether by itself, its Trustees, members of staff, agents, privies, representatives and or any person howsoever described, from giving effect to any “Request for Refund” and/or paying over the sum of $760.910.84 or any other sum paid pursuant to the Agreement, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or anybody or account howsoever described, except as ordered by a Court of competent jurisdiction and or as agreed by the parties.
“AN ORDER mandating the Defendant to forthwith refund to accounts provided by the Claimant, the sum of $760,910.84 (Seven Hundred and Sixty Thousand Nine Hundred and Ten Dollars, Eighty-Four Cents) OR
“AN ORDER compelling the Defendant to continue to perform its obligations and render the services agreed and as contained in the ‘Agreement for Prepaid School Fees until Graduation until the refund of the sum of 5760,910.84 is made to the Claimant.
“General Damages of One Hundred Million Naira (N100, 000, 000.00) against the Defendant.”