…orders EFCC to return all his seized monies
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday discharged and acquitted ex-Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Andrew Yakubu of the money laundering charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice A.R. Mohammed held that the anti-graft agency failed to prove its case against the defendant.
The court, however, ordered that money the EFCC seized from Yakubu, who was GMD of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014, should be returned to him. New Telegraph recalls that the EFCC on the strength of a tip-off by a whistleblower raided Yakubu’s guest house at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna State, in 2017 and discovered $9.7million and £74,000 he hid in a fireproof safe inside the house. Subsequently, the Federal High Court in Kano, on February 13, 2017, granted an interim order forfeiting the recovered monies to the government.
The Court of Appeal in Kaduna upheld the forfeiture order in 2018. However, the defendant, who was released on bail in the sum of N300 million, insisted that the seized money was part of the gifts he received on various occasions. He told the court that people gave him monetary gifts on occasions such as birthdays, thanksgiving services, and other celebrations he hosted after he left service. Though the EFCC initially preferred six criminal charges against him, however, the trial court on May 16, 2019, struck out counts 5 and 6 of the charge based on a no-case submission that was made by the defendant. Likewise, following an appeal by Yakubu, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal further struck out counts 1 and 2 of the charges and ordered him to open his defence with respect to only counts 3 and 4.