By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, granted the former Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, leave to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Yakubu, who was GMD of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014, was accused of stashing over N3 billion at his guest house in Kaduna State.
He is answering to a six-count charge Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him.
At the resumed hearing, trial Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted an application dated February 26, wherein the defendant, through his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, begged the court to permit him to travel outside the country to undertake a routine medical check-up.
EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Ben Ikani told the court that he was not opposed to the application.
Consequently, further hearing on the case was adjourned till May 10, even as the court gave EFCC the nod to call more witnesses against the defendant.
It will be recalled that the former NNPC boss was undergoing medical treatment in the United Kingdom when the EFCC, acting on a tip-off, raided his guest house situated at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna State, and recovered the alleged loot, which was in foreign currencies.
The anti-agency said it discovered the sum of $9.7million and £74,000 that Yakubu hid in a fireproof safe inside the house.
The defendant, who was granted N300million bail with two sureties in the like sum, earlier asked the high court to order EFCC to return the seized money to him, insisting that it was part of monetary gifts he received on various occasions.
A Federal High Court in Kano had on February 13, 2017, granted interim order forfeiting the recovered monies to the federal government.
FG had in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/ CR/ 43/ 2017, alleged that Yakubu failed to declare the money in the assets form he filed at the EFCC on August 18, 2015, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 27(3) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under section 27(3) (c) of the same Act.
In count three and four of the charge dated March 9, FG, alleged that Yakubu had between 2012 and 2014, without going through a financial institution, received cash payments of $9, 772, 800 and £74, 000, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under section 16(2) of the Act.
In count five and six, FG alleged that Yakubu had with intent to avoid a lawful transaction under the law, transferred at various times in Kaduna, aggregate sums of $9,772, 800 and £74, 000, when he reasonably ought to know that the said funds formed part of the proceed of some form of unlawful activity and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 7(4) (b) (ii) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2006.