Mr Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who had concealed the cash sums of $9,772,800 and £74,000 in a fireproof safe at a residence in Kaduna, has launched a move to have the ‘seized’ money returned back to him.
He has pleaded with the Federal High Court in Kano to set aside the order of forfeiture granted to the federal government by the court on the monies, which he claimed were ‘gifts’ and hid in a nondescript house in Sabon Tasha in Kaduna city, Kaduna.
Justice Zainab B. Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in Kano had on February 13 granted the interim forfeiture order for the money (which amounted to about N3bn).
The order was sequel to an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking an interim forfeiture of the recovered money to the Federal Government.
In an application filed by his lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN) the former NNPC boss said the court that granted the forfeiture order had no jurisdiction to do so.
He also contended that the anti-graft agency, which obtained the order from the court, did not follow the law in applying and securing the forfeiture order and it was liable to be set aside.
He therefore asked the court to set aside the order and return the cash sums of $9,772,800 and £74,000,000 to him.
“No aspect of the perceived offence in respect of which the Order of February 13, 2017 was made, was committed within the Kano judicial division of this Honourable Court”, Raji argued.
He further maintained that FG lacked the locus-standi to seek the interim order of the court granted on February 13.
“By Section 28 of the EFCC Act, only the commission, i.e. the EFCC has the vires to seek an order for the interim forfeiture of property under the Act.
“The power of this Honourable Court to make interim forfeiture order(s) pursuant to sections 28 & 29 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004 (herein after referred to a “EFCC Act”) is applicable ONLY to alleged offences charged under the EFCC Act and not to offences cognizable under any other law.
“The ex-parte order of this honourable court dated February 13, 2017, was made in respect of alleged offences under the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Act (herein after “ICPC Act”) and not the EFCC Act as prescribed by section 28 & 29 thereof.
“The conditions precedent to the grant of an interim forfeiture order under sections 28 & 29 of the EFCC Act were not complied with by the Applicant (FG) before the Order was made”, he submitted.
Following the recovery of $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash from him early this month, the EFCC arrested and took the ex-NNPC boss to Kano for interrogation.
It is understood that Yakubu is being detained at an EFCC facility in Kano.
The cash was allegedly hidden by the suspect in a fireproof safe at his brother’s house in the slums of Sabon Tasha area of the Kaduna metropolis.