Witness recounts how hard currencies were found in ex-NNPC boss’ apartment



By Tokunbo FAKEYE (Abuja) 

NIGERIA: THE trial of a former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, has continued before Justice A. R. Mohamed of the Federal High Court Abuja.

The third witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court, at the trial, how foreign currencies believed to be proceeds of crime were recovered in a fireproof safe in an apartment in Kaduna, which allegedly belonged to Yakubu, who is facing trial on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering and false declaration of assets.

*Andrew Yakubu…ex-GMD of NNPC.

The witness, Ahmed Yahaya, an operative of the commission at the Kano Zonal Office, detailed how he found $9,772,500 and 74,000 pounds sterling in the said apartment.

“On 3rd February, 2017 my Head of Operations called me and informed me that a team of operatives attached to Intelligence Special Operations Section (ISOS) are coming from Kaduna on special assignment and they are coming back with a fireproof cabinet safe and that I should make arrangements for collecting the exhibits recovered by the team,” Yahaya said.

He added: “At about 1830hrs, the team arrived with the recovered exhibits and the caretaker of the said exhibits by name, Bitrus Yakubu.”

“The recovered fireproof safe made by ‘Gubabi’ which was opened by experts contained monies,” the witness said, adding: “The monies were counted in the presence of the investigating team, including the Zonal Head of Operations, Deputy Zonal Head of Operations and the said Bitrus Yakubu.”

He also said: “At the end of the counting, a total sum of 97,725 pieces of 100 notes of United Stated Dollars was discovered valued at $9,772,500m; 6 pieces of 50 notes of U.S Dollars valued at $300 and 1,480 pieces of 50 notes of sterling pounds valued at 74,000 sterling pounds were found in the safe.”

Yahaya further told the court that the monies were duly packaged and registered in the court exhibit register.

He added that on February 13, 2017, he received a court order by the Legal Department and investigating team informing him of the interim forfeiture of the recovered amount.

The witness also said that after all relevant investigations, the whole monies were carried to CBN Kano Branch on March 17, 2017 for safe keeping and the monies were also counted by CBN experts and the bank issued certificate of delivery which was duly signed by both staff of EFCC and CBN.

The safe, which is already an exhibit; the interim order made by the Federal High Court, Kano; the exhibit registration form and the certificate of delivery were identified by the witness and admitted in evidence.

While under cross-examination by Yakubu’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, the witness told the court that he did not know if any insurance policy was taken by EFCC against the money apart from the certificate of delivery given to EFCC which serves as gateway to the money.

When asked how safe the money was in CBN, he said that “as far as I am concerned, the monies are safe in the CBN, although I don’t know the day-to-day running of the bank.”

The case has been adjourned to February 28 for further trial.

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