By Patience Danjuma
The Federal High Court Abuja on Tuesday admitted into evidence a certified-true-copy of the interim order of forfeiture of $9.8 million in the criminal trial of the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu.
The trial judge, Justice Abubakar Mohammed, also admitted a certificate of delivery dated March 17, 2017, issued to the EFCC as proof of evidence that the money was kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The interim order was granted by the Federal High Court, Kano.
The two documents were tendered by Counsel to the EFCC, Ben Ikani through Ahmed Yahaya who stood as a prosecution witness during the trial.
Yahaya, a Deputy Detective Superintendent with the EFCC said the commission had followed the due process in the discovery and safe keep of the money suspected to be proceeds of crime.
He disclosed that the money was intact, adding that he had the conviction that the money was safe with the Kano branch of the CBN.
Counsel for the accused person, Ahmed Raji (SAN), while cross-examining the witness raised an objection on why the money was kept with the CBN.
According to Raji, the order of forfeiture made by the court did not direct that the money be domiciled with CBN.
He also asked the witness to tell the court how sure he was about the safe condition of the money with the CBN.
The questions were, however, greeted with vehement objections from the counsel for the EFCC who said they were baseless and misdirected.
The judge, however, intervened by saying that the order of the court was explicit on whose possession the money should be kept.
He said the Federal High Court in Kano had in its decision dated Feb.14, 2017 ordered that the money should be kept by the Federal Government.
“We all know that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) remains the custodian of Federal Government’s money, instruments and bonds’’, he said.
The former GMD was arraigned by the EFCC on a six-count charge, bordering on non-disclosure of assets and fraud, charges to which he pleaded not guilty.
Yakubu was alleged to have, as “Group Managing Director of NNPC, between 2012 and 2014, within the jurisdiction of the court, with intent to avoid lawful transaction, transported to Kaduna $9. 8million and £74,000.”
He was also accused of failing to disclose the sum of $9.8 million and £74,000 to the EFCC in his asset declaration form, a crime which contravened Section 27 (3) of the EFCC Act.
Mohammed adjourned the case until Feb 28 for the continuation of trial.
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