Former NNPC GMD slams N1bn suit against FG

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that the monies recovered from the house of the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu were suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The anti-graft agency made the assertion in its counter affidavit, in response to a fundamental rights enforcement suit‎ filed by Yakubu before the court.

EFCC had, in a raid on Yakubu’s house, located at L92, Chikun Road, Sabon Tasha area, Kaduna-South local government area, Kaduna State, recovered the sum of $9,772,800 and another £74,000.

A Kano High Court had ordered the former NNPC GMD, who is presently in the custody of the anti-graft agency to forfeit the said money recovered from his house to the Federal Government.

In the enforcement of fundamental right suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/126/2017 filed by Yakubu through his counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), the applicant wants the court to declare that he is entitled to the dignity of his person, personal liberty, freedom of movement, private and family life as enshrined in the Constitution.

The applicant joined the EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as first and second respondents in the suit.

When the matter came up on Monday, counsel to the AGF, T.A Gazali prayed the court for a short adjournment to file his response.

In the suit, the applicant also wants the court to declare that his continued detention by the EFCC without charging him to court or allowing him to complete his medical procedure in the United Kingdom (UK) is a violation of his rights and an infringement of his rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty and freedom of movement.

He therefore prayed the court for an order enforcing his rights to personal liberty, dignity of human person, freedom of movement, private and family life by directing his immediate release from the EFCC custody or admitting him to bail on liberal terms and allowing him to proceed to the UK for a completion of the medical procedure which he was undergoing.

Yakubu is also praying for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further detaining him unlawfully, whether for suspicion or on account of any purported investigation with respect to the allegation wherewith he was detained.

He also wants the court to compel the respondents to tender public apology to him in two widely published national daily newspapers for the violation of his rights.

In addition, the applicant prays the court to award the cost of N1 billion in his favour as general damages and compensation for violation‎ of his right.

However, in its opposition to the application, the EFCC‎ through a counter affidavit deposed to by one Waziri Adamu, averred that investigation into the allegations against the applicant is ongoing, and that the interim findings revealed that the monies found in his house are not gifts but are suspected to be proceeds of crime.

He also averred that the monies were purportedly given him as gifts within 2010-2014 during which period he served ‎as Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

In addition, he averred that the applicant, in 2015 completed an assets declaration form but did not declare the said monies.

The respondent submitted that the detention of the applicant is lawful by virtue of a valid remand warrant and further added that the applicant is trying to use the application as a disguise to frustrate investigation into his case.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed adjourned the matter till Thursday for hearing.

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