By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
The former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu will on November 1 know fate in his legal battle to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release to him $9.8 million cash seized in his Kaduna residence six years ago.
The huge sum is being allegedly withheld by the anti- graft agency in violation of a subsisting order of court.
At the final hearing of his legal battle against EFCC on Monday, Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo fixed November 1 to deliver judgment in the suit on the money seizure.
Yakubu sued the EFCC, Central Bank of Nigeria and a commercial Bank for their refusal to release the money after a high court in Abuja discharged and acquitted him of money laundering charges, brought against him by the anti-graft agency.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had on March 31, 2022 quashed the money laundering charges instituted against Yakubu after the EFCC discovered $9, 772, 800 (9.7 million dollars) and £74, 000 in an apartment linked to him in 2017.
The EFCC had asked Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to convict Yakubu for an offence of money laundering and also order forfeíture of the money to the Federal Government.
But Ahmed Raji SAN, lawyer to the ex-NNPC GMD raised an objection to the trial on the ground that the monies found in Yakubu’s house were gifts from friends and associates.
Justice Mohammed had agreed with the defendant’s submissions, acquitted him and ordered the release of his money to him. The EFCC refused to comply with the order.
But Yakubu’s lawyer returned to court claiming that the monies had not been released as directed by the court.
By way of originating summons, he asked the court to order the release of the money or in the alternative, direct that the money be deposited with the Federal High Court Registrar pending the determination of the suit.
But the EFCC, through its lawyer, Faruk Abdullah, raised objection to the application saying appeals have been entered before the Court of Appeal in Abuja against the judgment of the Federal High Court.
At Monday’s proceedings, Justice Ekwo after taking arguments from parties involved in the suit fixed November 1 to give verdict on whether to compel EFCC to release the money or not.