Court remands Yakubu, Ex-NNPC boss in Kuje prison

Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday remanded Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to Kuje prison pending the hearing and determination of his bail application slated for March 21, 2017.

The Federal Government had arraigned Yakubu before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed on a six-count charge, bordering on financial corruption and money laundering.

Justice Mohammed ordered Yakubu’s remand in prison custody after prosecution counsel, Prince Ben Ikani and defence counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN) had argued the defendant’s bail application dated March 13, 2017 and filed same day.

Earlier, Yakubu had pleaded before the court that he was not guilty of the allegations levelled against him by the Federal Government, a development that made the prosecution counsel to request for date for commencement of his trial.

Raji applied to the court for the bail of his client, urging the court to grant his client bail “on self-recognisance and/or in the alternative, admit him on bail on very liberal terms.”

Secondly, Raji urged the court to order interim release of the defendant’s international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.

Raji posited that Yakubu was about to treat prostate cancer in the United Kingdom which he cut short to honour the invitation of the EFCC.

Adducing further reasons for Yakubu’s bail, Raji said, “By combined provisions of Sections 158-165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, except in capital offences, an accused is ordinarily entitled to bail.”

However, in opposition, the EFCC lawyer urged court not to grant bail to Yakubu on “self-recognisance.”

Ikani argued that the medical reasons cited by the defence could not hold water, adding that, “While under our custody, EFCC monitored his health daily. We have facility and we have been taking care of him.

“We have better medical facility all around Abuja. That he is sick and wants to go on medical treatment abroad is like a fairy tale because there is no report of experts to ascertain his health status.

“But if the court is mindful of granting their request, we submit that court applies stringent conditions to make him appear for trial. We plead the court to refuse granting the defendant bail on self-recognisance,” Prince Ikani said.

After hearing the application, the court adjourned to March 21, 2017  for ruling.

Count one stated that the former Group Managing Director of NNPC on or before 18 August 2015, at the office of the EFCC knowingly failed to make full disclosure of his assets, to wit; the sum of $9,772,800 only in his assets declaration form he filed on August 18, 2015.

The EFCC said the offence ran 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 two, the EFCC alleged that the former Group Managing Director of NNPC on or before 18 August 2015, at the office of the EFCC knowingly failed to make full disclosure of his assets, to wit; the sum of 74,000 Pounds sterling in his assets declaration form he filed on August 18, 2015.

The offence according to the EFCC violated Section 27 (3)(a) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, and punishable under Section 27 (3)(c) of the same Act.

Similarly, the Federal Government alleged that between 2012 and 2014, in Abuja, the former NNPC boss without going through a financial institution, received cash payment of $9,772,800 contrary to Section 1 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended in 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of same Act.

In count four, “Between 2012 and 2014 in Abuja, Yakubu was said to have without going through a financial institution, received a cash payment of 74,000 Pounds sterling contrary to Section 1 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended in 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of same Act.

Count five stated that, “While being the Group Managing Director of NNPC, sometime between 2012 and 2014, within the jurisdiction of the court, with intent to avoid a lawful transaction under the law, transported at various times, an aggregate sum of 9,772,800 USD to Kaduna State, an offence contrary to Section 7(4)(b)(ii) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act; and punishable under Section 7(5) of same Act”.

EFCC said Yakubu knew or reasonably ought to have known that the said funds formed part of proceeds of unlawful activity.

It was alleged in count six that, “While being the GMD of NNPC, Yakubu sometime between 2012 and 2014, within the jurisdiction of the court, with intent to avoid a lawful transaction under the law, transported the sum of 74,000 Pounds Sterling to Kaduna State, an offence contrary to Section 7(4)(b)(ii) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act; and punishable under Section 7(5) of same Act.

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