Hidden $9.7m: Witness testifies against ex-NNPC GMD


By Omotilewa Quadri 

Sambo Maina, a prosecution witness in a case of money laundering and false declaration of assets involving a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, GMD NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, on Thursday narrated how the defendant concealed $9,772,800 found in his apartment in the EFCC Asset Declaration Form.

Maina, who is an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), while testifying as the fourth prosecution witness before Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, said the former NNPC boss also failed to declare £74,000 found in his building in the form.

While narrating how EFCC came about the ‘Declaration Form’, Sambo said, “We commenced investigation into two categories of NNPC contract. The contracts were awarded by NNPC and its subsidiaries.

“The first category of the contract relates to strategic alliance agreement between the NNPC, its subsidiaries NPDC (Nigerian Petroleum Development Company) and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd.

“The first strategic alliance agreement was on oil mining lease 26/30/34/40/42 and the second contract was on oil mining lease 60/61/62/63.” 

The investigation, according to Maina, was sequel to intelligence report received by the EFCC relating to suspicious fund transfers from the Nigerian account of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept to its sister company in Switzerland called Atlantic Energy Holdings, including additional transfers from Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd to Atlantic Energy Holdings.

“It was on the basis of this suspicious transaction that investigation commenced. In the course of our investigation, we found it necessary to seek clarifications from Engineer Andrew Yakubu and he was invited to EFCC,” Maina said.

He added that while interacting with the defendant, EFCC found out that the two strategic alliance agreements were executed between 2011 and April 2014 when Yakubu was the Group Managing Director of the state oil company. 

The witness further stated that after the defendant volunteered his statement, he also declared his assets to the EFCC sometimes between June and August 2015.

The witness told the court that the declaration form given to the defendant to fill and declare his assets was based on the allegation that the company, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd, was allowed to lift crude oil worth over a billion dollars without carrying out the necessary obligation on their part upon which some officials of the NNPC were charged to court.

The asset declaration form was tendered and admitted as ‘Exhibit I’.

Thereafter, Justice Ahmed adjourned to July 3, 2018 for continuation of trial.

Yakubu, is facing trial on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering and false declaration of assets.

On February 3, 2017, operatives of the EFCC in Kaduna State stormed a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered a sum of $9,772,000 and £74,000 stashed in a huge fire proof safe.

Yakubu, who admitted to be the owner of the money, claimed it was gifts given to him by friends and well wishers and also savings accumulated over a period of years.  

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