Justice A. R Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday adjourned the $9.8 million money laundering trial of Ex-Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, till July 14, 2021, to rule on the application by the prosecution to play the content of Compacts Disk and Memory Cards, both recorded exhibits, before the court.
Yakubu is standing trial on charges of money laundering brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He is accused of receiving the aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000 without going through a financial institution. He was originally docked on a 6-count charge on March 16, 2017. However, following a no-case submission by the defendant and subsequent Appeal Court decision, four of the counts were struck out leaving only counts three and four.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the prosecution continued the cross-examination of the defendant.
Counsel to the EFCC, Farouk Abdullah, sought leave of the Court to play the contents of exhibits M, N and N1, which were the Compact Disks and Memory Cards earlier admitted in evidence in 2018.
But defence counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, objected to the request, stating that the defendant was not the maker of the contents of the devices. According to Raji: “My Lord, a document must be demonstrated by the maker otherwise it is deemed as dumped.”
He further explained that “allowing the application will be going contrary to the ruling of the Court of Appeal on 24th April, 2020, which ruled that trial should continue here in this Court for the purpose of the defendant explaining himself on counts 3 and 4 of the charges preferred against him and not bringing up new evidence”.
Abdullah countered, stating that the exhibits were earlier admitted in court and stand tenable. He added that the Court of Appeal did not mandate the maker to demonstrate the evidence, but for any party relying on the exhibit provided.
Justice Mohammed adjourned the matter till 14th July, 2021 for ruling and continuation of trial.