$9.8m Fraud: Court to Rule on Admissibility of Evidence in Former NNPC GMD’s Trial

Andrew Yakubu

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The trial of former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, continued yesterday before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja with the court reserving ruling on admissibility of prosecution’s evidence till November 30, 2020.

Yakubu was arraigned in 2017 before Justice Mohammed on a six-count charge of failure to make full disclosure of assets, money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction, having unlawfully transported at various times to Kaduna an aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.

Appearing yesterday as defence witness, the defendant under cross-examination by prosecution counsel, M.S. Abubakar, denied knowledge of 10 bundles of 100 pieces of $100 bills, sealed in transparent cellophane and 30 pieces of such sealed bills of 10 bundles of $100 bills, allegedly found in his custody.

He, however, agreed that sums of $9,772,800 and £74,000 found in his custody, which are subject of counts three and four belong to him; stating that a larger portion of the sums were gifts he received after he left office.

In an affidavit he deposed to in the Supreme Court, Yakubu affirmed that the sums, which are exhibits in his trial were deposited with the Kano branch of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

While prosecution counsel sought to tender the affidavit by virtue of the provisions of sections 85, 86 (i) and 88 of the Evidence Act, defence counsel Ahmed Raji (SAN), objected, arguing that it was not certified, being a public document.

Justice Mohammed adjourned till November 30, 2020 for ruling on the admissibility of the affidavit.

It would be recalled that in May 2019, the trial court struck out counts five and six of the six-count charge, following a “no-case submission,” filed by the defendant. And upon the defendant’s appeal, the Appeal Court further struck out counts one and two but ordered him to enter his defence on count three and four which had to do with his failure to go through a financial institution in possessing $9,772,800 and £74,000 found in his custody