Court grants Ex-NNPC boss permission to travel abroad

Former NNPC GMD Andrew Yakubu
Former NNPC GMD Andrew Yakubu

Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed on of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday granted the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu permission to travel for three weeks medical attention in the United Kingdom (UK).

Justice Mohammed granted the defendant three weeks leave for the defendant to seek medical attention abroad, following an application by his counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN) seeking the release of his International Passport deposited with the court to enable him travel to the UK for treatment of an undisclosed ailment.

Raji, while moving the application told the court that the former NNPC boss needs adequate medical attention in the UK to make him fit enough to stand his trial.

The prosecution counsel, Ben Ikani who did not oppose to the application as it borders on health, however asked the Judge to exercise his discretion and to release the International Passport of the defendant to his lawyer.

Ruling on the application, the Judge granted the application, adding that, “the leave is for a period of three weeks, to commence from May 25, 2017”.

Justice Mohammed said one of the sureties to the defendant must deposed to an affidavit that the defendant will return to face his trial.

The Judge ordered the release of the International Passport of the defendant, which shall be returned to the Chief Registrar of the court upon return from the UK.

Yakubu is facing a six-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets, advanced fee fraud, and money laundering.

According to the charge sheet, Yakubu allegedly failed to make full disclosure in his Assets Declaration form of the sums of $9,772 800 and 74,000 pounds contrary to Section 27 (3)(a) of the EFCC act 2004.

He was also accused of receiving a cash payment of the said sums without going through a financial institution thereby committing an offence under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

The former NNPC boss was further charged with receiving the same amount when he fully knew that the said fund formed part of proceed of unlawful activity.

The former NNPC boss pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him by the Federal Government and was granted bail by the court.

Trial of the former NNPC GMD had commenced with the first prosecution witness (PW1), Tasiu Abubakar giving a vivid account of how the staggering sum of $9,772,800 was recovered in the Kaduna house of the defendant by a special team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The witness, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) told the court that he is attached to the Intelligence and Special Operation Section (ISOS) of the Commission, which is responsible for such investigation also disclosed that EFCC hired the services of Bureau De Change who came with two counting machines to count the money.

According to the witness, sometimes in February 2017, EFCC Zonal Head of Operation in Kano, received an intelligence report that there was a house in Sabon Tasha in Kaduna State where huge sums of money was kept.

Based on that report, he said the Intelligence and Special Operation section (ISOS) which is responsible for such investigation proceeded to Kaduna and carried out a search on the house.

The witness said the money recovered after the search was $9,772,800 and another sum of £74,000.

The witness said, at the time of this discovery, the defendant (Yakubu) was out of the country for medical treatment, adding that, “He was contacted via phone call and he reported on February  8, 2017 along with his counsel,

“He was interviewed in the presence of his lawyer. As the usual practice, I was directed by the sectional head to record his statement. I administered a caution, I read to him and he wrote his statement in the presence of his counsel.

“He wrote a three page statement on Wednesday February 8, 2017. I read the statement over to him and he signed and I counter-signed. In his statement, he admitted that the house belong to him”.

The witness further told the court that after the defendant made his statement, the money was taken to the Central Bank in Kano and lodged in a strong room for safe keeping.

The case has been adjourned to July 6, 2017 for continuation of trial.

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