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HomeTop NewsAbuja Fed Court frees ex-NNPC CEO Yakubu from money laundering charges

Abuja Fed Court frees ex-NNPC CEO Yakubu from money laundering charges

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has discharged and acquitted a former Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Andrew Yakubu, on charges of money laundering.

The anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has charged Yakubu for alleged $9.8 million in money laundering before the court.

Justice Ahmed Mohamed in his judgment ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to result in the conviction of the former NNPC boss.

The EFCC had on the strength of a tip-off by a whistleblower, raided Yakubu’s guest house situated at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna State in 2017 and discovered the sum of $9.7million and £74,000 which he hid in a fireproof safe inside the house.

Subsequently, the Federal High Court in Kano, on February 13, 2017, granted interim order forfeiting the recovered monies to the federal government.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna equally upheld the forfeiture order in 2018.

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However, Defendant, who was released on bail in the sum of N300million, insisted that the seized monies were part of monetary gifts he received on various occasions.

He told the court that people gave him monetary gifts on occasions such as birthdays, thanksgiving services, and other celebrations he hosted after he left service.

Though the EFCC initially preferred a six-count criminal charge against him, however, the trial court, on May 16, 2019, struck out counts 5 and 6 of the charge based on a no-case submission that was made by the Defendant.

Likewise, following an appeal that was lodged by Defendant, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal further struck out counts 1 and 2 of the charge and ordered him to open his defence with respect to only counts 3 and 4 of the charge.

The EFCC had in the charge that was dismissed by the court, alleged that Yakubu had between 2012 and 2014, without going through a financial institution, received cash payments of $9, 772, 800 and £74, 000, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under section 16(2) of the Act.

Justice Mohammed also ordered the refund of the said money lodged in the coffers of the CBN to Yakubu forthwith.

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