Judge orders transfer of $9.8m seized from ex-NNPC GMD to court registrar’s account
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on October 31, 2023
A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to transfer $9.8 million and £74,000 recovered from Andrew Yakubu, a former group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to an account under the control of the chief registrar of the court.
The presiding judge, Inyang Ekwo, on Monday, said he found that the EFCC and CBN had not been forthright concerning the whereabouts of the sums for which the suit was centred.
NAN quoted Justice Ekwo as saying:
Therefore, the proper order to make in this case is that which can assure all parties that the sums are in the custody that can make them retrievable by any of the parties entitled thereto eventually, pending the determination of the appeal lodged by the Federal Government against the decision of a sister court in suit number: FHC/ABJ/CR/43/2017.
In April, Yakubu sued the CBN, EFCC and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) over an alleged refusal to release his $9.8 million after a court judgement acquitted him of fraud charges.
On February 3, 2017, operatives of the EFCC raided the property of the former NNPC chief in Kaduna and recovered $9.8 million and £74,000 stashed in a fire-proof safe.
He was alleged to have omitted the monies from the EFCC asset declaration form given to him to fill in 2015.
Yakubu was arraigned before Ahmed Mohammed, a judge, on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering and false declaration of assets.
However, in March 2022, the judge discharged and acquitted Yakubu of the charges.
In the originating summons, marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/231/2023, and filed before Ekwo, Yakubu through his counsel, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to determine whether the EFCC ought to still have in its custody his seized monies after the judgement.
He had prayed to the court for an order directing the defendants to immediately release the monies to him pending the determination of the EFCC’s appeal.