Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday ruled that a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, had a case to answer in respect of the charges of money laundering and non-declaration of assets instituted against him.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had charged Yakubu with six counts bordering on the sums of $9,772, 800 and £74,000.00, recovered from his home in Kaduna, Kaduna State, on February 3, 2017.
The operatives of the anti-graft agency, on a tip-off, had raided Yakubu’s house, located on Chikun Road, Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State, from where the funds translating to about N3bn were allegedly recovered.
Ruling on the no-case submission which Yakubu after the prosecution closed its case, Justice Ahmed Mohammed struck out two of the six counts but ruled that the defendant had a case to answer in respect of the four remaining counts.
The judge said he agreed with Yakubu’s lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), that the prosecution had failed to prove the essential ingredients of Counts 5 and 6.
He went to discharge the defendant on the two counts.
But ruling in respect of the remaining four counts, Justice Mohammed held, “Even though I am tempted to discharge the defendant on counts one to four, I am however constrained to ask the defendant to explain how he came about the monies recovered from his house.
“Fortified with my position, the defendant is hereby ordered to enter his defence in respect of counts one to four.”
The judge fixed July 3, 2019 for the accused to open his defence.
Yakubu had, through his lawyer, filed his no-case submission on December 5, 2018, arguing that the evidence led by the prosecution’s seven witnesses did not establish a case against him, and so the charges should be dismissed.
In response, EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, M.S. Abubakar, filed a reply dated January 15, 2019, arguing that a prima facie case had been established against Yakubu, and that there were grounds to proceed with his trial.
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