Court refuses to halt Ex-NNPC GMD Yakubu’s trial

The million dollars man, Andrew Yakubu
Andrew Yakubu and his dollars

A Federal High Court in Abuja has declined to halt further proceedings in the trial of former General Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.

Yakubu is accused of alleged money laundering offences involving about $9.8million. Earlier, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Yakubu on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge.

The charges include failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction under law, transported at various times to Kaduna, the aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.

EFCC said the money was recovered by its agents from a safe allegedly hidden by the defendant in a house in a community Kaduna State.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling on Wednesday, noted that although both parties have filed appeals before the Supreme Court, whose outcome would likely impact the case before him, he is constrained, by virtue of the provision of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), to continue with hearing in the case as ordered by the Court of Appeal.

The judge noted that the provision of Section 306 of the ACJA and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Olisa Metuh v. the Federal Republic of Nigeria have effectively outlawed the grant of stay of proceedings in criminal cases on grounds of the filing of an interlocutory appeal.

He added that although both parties in the case were dissatisfied with the April 24, 2020 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja and has since appealed the decision; the court cannot do otherwise but to comply with the provisions of the law.

He then adjourned till July 8 for the defendant to enter his defence in respect of counts three and four, which are now left in the original six counts charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).