The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday adjourned till October 15 the trial of a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu.
Yakubu is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on charges bordering on the cash sums of $9,772, 800 and £74,000 recovered from him by the operatives of the commission.
The EFCC operatives had raided Yakubu’s house on Chikun Road, Sabon Tasha, Kaduna South Local Government Area, Kaduna State, on February 3, 2017, where they recovered the funds kept in a safe.
He was on March 1, 2017, arraigned on six charges in connection with the recovered money.
Following his no-case submission which he filed after the prosecution presented its case, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, dismissed two of the counts in a ruling delivered on May 16, 2019.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja also in an April 24, 2020 judgment, affirmed Justice Mohammed’s ruling and dismissed two additional counts.
This left counts 2 and 3 for Yakubu to defend.
Both the EFCC and the defendant had appealed to the Supreme Court to contest the various parts of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
The remaining two counts which Yakubu was ordered to defend by the Court of Appeal are about allegations that between 2012 and 2014, in Abuja, he allegedly received cash payments of $9,772,800 and £74,000 without going through a financial institution, in alleged violation of section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under 16(2)(b) of the Act.
Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment, Yakubu opened his defence on July 8 by testifying for himself as the first defence witness.
He said in his testimony that the money was received as gifts in tranches between 2012 and 2014 and was contemplating which business to invest it in when EFCC seized it.
While the defendant was being cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, his lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), objected to the attempt by the prosecutor to make use of a document marked Exhibit J.
Raji’s reason for objecting was that the document was only relevant to the counts already dismissed by the Court of Appeal and not the remaining two counts.
The argument between the the defence and the prosecution extended from July 8 till the Wednesday’s proceedings.
Upon the conclusion of the argument on Wednesday, Justice Mohammed adjourned till October 15 for ruling and continuation of trial.
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