Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has told a Federal High Court in Abuja, that the $9,772,800 and £74,000 seized from him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are gifts.
The EFCC had on February 3, 2017, raided Yakubu’s residence in Sabon Tasha, Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna State, where a metal save containing the money was recovered following a tip-off.
Four counts among the six counts against Yakubu by the anti-graft agency have been dismissed by the High Court and Appeal Court.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge, on May 16, 2019, dismissed two of the counts, after the former NNPC GMD filed a no-case submission.
On April 24, 2020, the appellate court upheld Mohammed’s ruling, and also dismissed two more counts.
Yakubu is consequently left with 2 counts to defend. The 2 counts are regarding allegations that between 2012 and 2014, he as the then NNPC GMD, received cash payments of $,9,772,800 and £74,000 without going through the appropriate financial institution, which is contrary to Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
However, Yakubu, thorough his counsel, Ahmed Raji, a senior advocate, said that the monies were kept in the location in tranches and not in bulk.
He claimed that he received 97 to 98 percent of the money as gifts during his birthdays, thanksgivings, daughter’s wedding, and other events he hosted after he left office as the NNPC GMD.
“As I stated in my statement to the EFCC, the money found in the safe is mine. The money was not received in bulk. It was received in tranches of not more than $10,000 and not more than £5,000 (in respect of the pounds sterling).
“And substantial part of the money was given to me after I left office. It was given to me on occasions such as birthday, thanksgiving services, and other celebrations that I hosted after leaving office.
“Since the money was given to me unexpectedly, I kept the money in the safe pending when I decide on specific business venture I would embark on. As soon as that decision crystallized, the business would be funded through the financial institution,” he said.
After his defence, Justice Mohammed adjourned the case till July 22, 2020, for further cross-examination of the defendant.