A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a directive to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release the sum of $9,773,200.00 and £74,000, which were seized from the former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Justice Inyang Ekwo’s order stipulates that the released funds must be deposited into an interest-bearing account held in the name of the court’s Chief Registrar. This action is to remain in effect until all parties involved have exhausted their right to appeal.
Justice Ekwo’s decision is rooted in concerns regarding the transparency and accuracy of the information provided by the EFCC, and the CBN about the whereabouts of the confiscated funds.
The funds in question were seized from Yakubu’s residence in Kaduna on February 3, 2017. Subsequently, the EFCC charged him with money laundering, leading to his arraignment before a Federal High Court in Abuja on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge.
Following the conclusion of the prosecution’s case, Yakubu submitted a no-case motion. In a ruling on May 16, 2019, Justice Ahmed Mohammed absolved the defendant of charges 5 and 6.
Justice Mohammed also ruled that Yakubu must present his defense for the remaining four charges; a decision that Yakubu appealed at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The Court of Appeal, in an April 24, 2020 judgment, partially upheld the appeal. This led to Yakubu’s acquittal on counts one and two, while he was directed to present his defense for counts three and four.