A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday granted bail to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, in the sum of N300m.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed had on March 16, ordered that Yakubu be remanded in Kuje Prison following the arraignment of the ex-NNPC on six counts preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The charges bordered on fraud and false declaration of assets. The charges were all in relation to the money recovered from his house in Kaduna on February 3.
Operatives of the EFCC had stormed a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered the sum of $9.7m and £74,000 stashed in a huge fireproof safe in a slum in Kaduna.
The sums of foreign currencies amounted to about N3bn.
After the arraignment of the defendant, his bail application was argued and the judge subsequently ordered him to be remanded in prison pending the ruling which was delivered on Tuesday.
Ruling on the defendant’s bail application on Tuesday, Justice Mohammed noted that he had no reason to believe that the former NNPC’s GMD would jump bail.
The judge said he believed so in view of Yakubu’s conduct of cutting short his medical trip abroad to honour EFCC’s invitation.
The judge said if Yakubu had wanted to escape trial, as alleged by the EFCC, the defendant would not have voluntarily returned to honour the commission’s invitation.
He also noted that the prosecution did not deny the claim.
Justice Mohammed said the prosecution’s objection to the bail application was based on speculation and undue apprehension.
He then proceeded to grant bail to Yakubu for N300m with two sureties in like sum.
The judge said the sureties must own properties which must worth the bail sum within the Federal Capital Territory.
He, however, refused to grant the prayer for an order releasing Yakubu’s passport which was said to be in EFCC’s custody.
The judge said he could not grant such prayer at the stage of the case.
He ordered Yakubu to remain in prison pending when the defendant would meet the bail conditions.
Justice Mohammed adjourned until May 9 for the commencement of trial.
The defendant was accused in some of the counts preferred against him of knowingly failing to make full disclosure of the sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000 to the EFCC at the anti-graft agency’s office on or about August 18, 2015.
The EFCC said the offence ran contrary to Section 27 (3)(a) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, and punishable under Section 27 (3)(c) of the same Act.
It was also alleged in other counts that between 2012 and 2014, in Abuja, the former NNPC boss without going through a financial institution, received cash payments of $9,772,800 and £74,000.