Tuesday, 21 March 2017

N3bn Loot: Ex-NNPC boss, Yabuku Gets N300m Bail, Remanded in Prison

Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 granted bail to Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director, GMD, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, who is standing trial on charges of money laundering, non disclosure of assets and fraud.

He was admitted to bail in the sum of N300million with two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be an owner of landed property that is worth the bail sum within the FCT, while the other surety shall be employed and resident in Abuja having a permanent home address. The sureties must depose to an affidavit of means, as well as, submit their two recent passport photographs.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on March 16, docked Yakubu on a six-count charge, following which the court ordered his remand in prison custody pending ruling on his bail application.

However, Yakubu’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, had through an application dated March 13 prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail pending trial.

He urged the court to admit the defendant to bail on self recognisance or on the alternative, admit him to bail on liberal terms

Raji also brought a prayer asking the court for the interim release of his client’s international passport to enable him embark on a three week medical trip.
Arguing the application, the learned silk told the court that the defendant had no criminal record, adding that he was invited by the EFCC and voluntarily surrendered himself.

Counsel to EFCC, Prince Ben Ikani, countered the application and urged the court to “enforce stringent conditions that will make the defendant stand his trial”.

The judge relying on Section 158 of the ACJA regarding right to bail, noted that the defendant was not arrested but reported himself to the EFCC upon invitation and the respondent (EFCC) never denied anywhere that the defendant reported to the EFCC.

He added that, “the fact that the defendant did not refuse to honour the invitation extended to him by EFCC has shown that he is ready to stand his trial.”

On the defendant's prayers for the interim release of his passport to enable him travel abroad, Justice Mohammed said, “what the court is concerned with at this stage is whether or not the defendant (Yakubu) is entitled to bail”.
He said, “the court, at this stage, will not delve into whether the defendant is entitled to travel or not as the application before the court is for bail”.

In refusing the prayer, the judge warned that the defendant should not travel out of the country during the pendency of the case and ordered his (Yakubu) remand in prison custody pending the perfection of his bail terms.

“The defendant is to remain in prison custody pending fulfilment of all the bail conditions”, Justice Mohammed ruled.

The case has been adjourned to May 9, 2017 for hearing.

Yakubu’s ordeal started on February 3, 2017, when operatives of the EFCC stormed a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered a staggering sum of $9,772,000 (Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand United States Dollars) and £74,000 (Seventy Four Thousand Pound Sterling) stashed in a huge fire proof safe.

On February 8, 2017, the NNPC boss reported to the Commission’s Kano Zonal Office where he admitted being the owner of both the house and the money recovered claiming it was part of monetary gifts he received on various occasions.

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