From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja will on February 17 rule on the request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for the Court to visit the Kano branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria and inspect the sums of $9,772,800 and £74000 allegedly recoverd from a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
The Commission had, on March 16, 2017, arraigned Yakubu on six counts but was ordered by the Court of Appeal to defend counts three and four which bordered on failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution and intent to avoid a lawful transaction in alleged violation of Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.
On February 3, 2017, the EFCC had while acting on a tip-off, by a whistle blower, raided the house of Yakubu located in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna State, where it found 9, 772, 800 dollars (9.7 million dollars) and 74, 000 pounds in a fireproof safe.
In the charge before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja division of the court, the prosecution alleged that the defendant received huge sums of money without going through a financial institution.
The prosecution counsel, M.S Abubakar who moved the motion on Thursday, further urged the court to move to CBN Kano branch of the CBN to inspect the sums of $9,772,800 and £74000 which formed parts ofcounts three and four of the charge.
Abubakar urged the court to grant the Locus in quo in the overall interest of justice.
However, defence counsel Ahmed Raji, SAN who adopted his counter-affidavit and other processes urged the court to dismiss the application by the prosecution.
The defence counsel argued that counts three and four can be effectively determined without a physical inspection of the cash sums of $9,772,800 and £74000.
The former NNPC GMD was arraigned on a six-count charge of money laundering. But four of the counts were struck out through a no-case submission, leaving counts three and four.
Meanwhile the former NNPC boss had told the court that a substantial part of the money found at his Kaduna residence by EFCC was given to him as gift after leaving office.
He spoke while testifying before Justice Ahmed Mohammed as defence star witness in an alleged money laundering case instituted against him by the anti-graft agency.
Yakubu had while responding to questions from his Counsel, Ahmed Raji, confirmed that the money discovered in his property by the EFCC belonged to him.
“Yes, my lord, I confirm that the money in a safe in counts 3 and 4 was taken from my property.
“As I stated in my statement to EFCC, the money found in the safe is mine.
“The money was not received in bulk, it was received in tranches of not more than $10,000 and not more than £5,000.
“And the substantial part of the amount was given to me after I left office and it was given to me on the occasions of birthday, thanksgiving service and other celebration I hosed after leaving office,” he said.