$9.8m found in my aprtment was a gift, ex-NNPC boss tells court

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Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), told the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday, that a substantial part of the $9.772 the EFCC found at his Kaduna residence in 2017, were gifts.

Yakubu made this known while testifying before Justice Ahmed Mohammed as defence star witness in an alleged money laundering case instituted against him by the anti-graft agency.

In 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission raided the residence of the ex-NNPC boss in Kaduna State and found $9,772, 800, and £74,000 pounds in a safe.

But Yakubu said the money was received in tranches as gifts for his birthday and other celebrations after he left office.

Yakubu was arraigned on March 16th, 2017, on six counts but was ordered by the Court of Appeal to defend counts 3 and 4 which bordered on failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution and intent to avoid a lawful transaction in alleged violation of Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.

Responding to questions from his Counsel, Ahmed Raji, a senior advocate of Nigeria, Yakubu confirmed that the money discovered in his property by the EFCC belonged to him.

“Yes, my lord, I confirm that the money in a safe in counts 3 and 4 was taken from my property.

“As I stated in my statement to EFCC, the money found in the safe is mine.

“The money was not received in bulk, it was received in tranches of not more than $10,000 and not more than £5,000.

“And the substantial part of the amount was given to me after I left office and it was given to me on the occasions of birthday, thanksgiving service and other celebration I hosed after leaving office,” he said.

According to him, it also included gift I got from the. marriages of my daughters.

“Approximately, the substantial amount of about over 98 per cent was given to me,” he added.

Yakubu explained further that the purpose of keeping the money was to think about a business venture he could embark on after his retirement.

“My lord, since the money was given to me unexpected, I kept the money in safety in the safe pending when I will decide on business venture to embark on and as soon as that decision crystalised, the business will be funded through a financial institution,” he said.

On the remaining two per cent of the money, he said he got them through estacodes he received from international trips he had while in office.

“For over 25 years, I had reason by virtue of my schedule to travel to many parts of the world outside Nigeria and so I was entitled to estacodes in the United States dollars and any saving (earning) I made my lord during the trip, I had reason to save.

“So my lord, the remaining 2% is from the travels,” he said.

Yakubu told the court that he started the saving in the safe where the money was found at his residence between 2010 and 2014.

No sooner had Counsel to the EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, began his cross examination than Justice Mohammed adjourned the continuation of the exercise until July 22.

On June 24th, the judge had declined to stop further proceedings in Yakubu’s trial, saying that though both parties had filed appeals before the Supreme Court, whose outcome would likely impact the case before him, he was constrained by virtue of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act to continue with the case as ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Justice Mohammed adjourned the continuation of the exercise until July 22.

 



Aneta Felix

Aneta Felix is a seasoned broadcast journalist and versatile content producer with an interest in reporting on human and gender rights, insecurity, corruption, and development among others. She has over five years of progressive experience, working across online, radio, and TV platforms, reporting the Boko Haram insurgency in Adamawa state, covering elections across the country and interviewing CEOs of multi-million dollar companies. Aneta is also the producer and presenter of the business documentary program, Startups, on TV360 Nigeria. She is a graduate of International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of Benin and is based in Lagos Nigeria.


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