The Governor of Kogi State has responded to allegations of money laundering involving the state government levelled against his nephew and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In December 2022, there were reports that the EFCC had arraigned some persons on allegations that they were laundering monies belonging to the Kogi State Government.

Though the government rebutted the claims, last month, the Commission arraigned a suspect identified as Ali Bello, a nephew of the Kogi governor, and four others before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Reacting to the EFCC’s allegations and arrests on Channels Television’s live programme, Politics Today, on Friday, the governor said, “It’s a joke taken too far. I think it’s just a media witch-hunt. [It’s] a political witch-hunt or media propaganda – let me put it that way – against myself and the government of Kogi State.”

According to Bello, his state government has enjoyed favourable local and international ratings, including from the World Bank, in terms of transparency, accountability, and judicious utilisation of resources.

“The reason is best known to them [EFCC]. The matter has been taken to court. It’s in court and we have competent lawyers that are handling it. I can assure you that it is a fluke,” he said.

“I rose up to this level today because of my integrity. I will leave office with my integrity high. I will never do anything that will dent it. What I have and what I’m building and what I will ever cherish is my name and integrity, and I will never allow anybody to drag me into the mud.”

The governor explained that, in order to preserve his reputation and that of his administration, the state government has chosen a legal and lawful means to achieve vindication.

“An allegation is a mere allegation. Until proven by a competent court of law, you can never ascribe me to such an alleged crime or misdeed. Besides, we have an anti-graft agency that you and I know does not respect the law, does not respect court orders,” he added.