A Federal High Court in Abuja has discharged and acquitted Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), on charges of money laundering.
Acting on a tip-off, operatives of the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in February 2017, raided the residence of the ex-NNPC boss in Kaduna State and recovered the sum of $9.8m and £74,000 stashed in a fire-proof safe.
Yakubu was subsequently arraigned on March 16, 2017, on six counts of money laundering and other offences.
But the trial court, after the prosecution rested its case, struck out two of the counts on May 16, 2019.
On April 24, 2020, the Court of Appeal, in Abuja, where an appeal regarding the decision of the trial court was lodged, also struck out two additional counts, and asked the defendant to defend only the two remaining counts – Counts 3 and 4.
The two counts have to do with the defendant’s failure to make full disclosure of assets to EFCC upon his arrest, receiving cash without going through a financial institution in alleged violation of Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.
Yakubu has denied the charges in his testimony while testifying for himself as a defence witness in the case, claiming that the money seized from him was an accumulation of gifts he received at different times after leaving office.