Embattled ‘greedy’ former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu has approached a Federal High Court sitting in Kano with an application demanding immediate return of the controversial $9.7m and £74,000 seized from him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC had last week secured an order of the court forfeiting the said fund to the Federal Government.
In the appeal filed by his counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), Yakubu challenged the ruling of the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Zainab B. Abubakar, saying the court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to try the case since the crime was allegedly committed in Abuja, which is outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Kano court.
In a motion on notice with registration number FHC/ICN/CS/24/2017, Yakubu’s counsel, Raji argued that “by Section 45 of the Federal High Court Act, an offence shall be tried only by a court exercising jurisdiction in the area or place where the offence was committed.
No aspect of the perceived offence in respect of which the Order of 13th February, 2017 was made, was committed within the Kano judicial division of this Honourable Court,” Raji said.
He said, “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 (hereinafter “EFCC Act”) is applicable ONLY to alleged offences charged under the EFCC Act and not offences cognizable under any other law.
“The ex-parte Order of this Honourable Court dated 13th February, 2017, was made in respect of alleged offences under the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Act (hereinafter “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 before the Order was made.
“In the instant case, no charge was brought against the Respondent/Applicant before the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the EFCC Act were activated to grant the ex-parte Order of 13th February, 2017.”
Recall that the Federal High Court which sat in Kano on the 13th February, 2017 and presided over by Justice Zainab B. Abubakar, had ordered the forfeiture of the sum of $9,772,000 (Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand United States Dollars) and £74,000 (Seventy Four Thousand Pound Sterling) recovered from Mr. Andrew Yakubu to the Federal Government.
In a press release signed by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC Head Media & Publicity, the order was sequel to an ex parte application by the EFCC seeking an interim forfeiture of the recovered money to the Federal Government.
The ex parte application was moved by Salihu Sani, counsel for the applicant.
In her ruling, Justice Zainab had held “That the sum of $9,772,000 (Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand United States Dollars) and £74,000 (Seventy Four Thousand Pound Sterling) which are now in the custody of the applicant (EFCC) are in the interim forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
It would also be recalled that, on the 3rd day of February, 2017, operatives of the Commission had stormed a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered the 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.
However, Mr. Yakubu has long said the money seized from him were gifts from persons he did not mention. Recall also that on February 8, 2017, Andrew Yakubu had reported to the Commission’s Zonal office in Kano and made statement wherein he admitted ownership of the recovered money, claiming it was gift from unnamed persons. Yakubu was GMD of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014.