EFCC eyes appeal as ex-NNPC GMD, Yakubu is discharged, acquitted on $9.8m corruption charges
A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, discharged and acquitted former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, on the $9.8 million corruption charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The court held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which put Yakubu on trial for five years, woefully failed to establish that he accepted the money over and above the threshold allowed by law.
But EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement, said the commission believes the trial judge erred in dismissing the charge and has resolved to test the ruling at an appellate court.
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed ordered that the foreign currency seized from the defendant in 2017 and kept at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) be returned to him forthwith.
Mohammed further said that the evidence of the witnesses of the anti-graft agency created doubts, which, in law, must be resolved in favour of the defendant.
The judge held that the prosecution failed to establish the necessary ingredients of the charges to warrant conviction of the former NNPC chief.
He said: “The evidence of the defendant (Yakubu) on how he came about the money was not only credible but reliable,” adding: “The prosecution failed to contradict the evidence as required by law.”
Mohammed held that the EFCC ought to have investigated Yakubu’s claims that the money came as gifts from his friends, “but unfortunately, and for reasons best known to it, the prosecution did not do that.”
He said: “To worsen the situation, the prosecution assumed that the money was received in one fell swoop, as against the evidence of the defendant that he got the money piecemeal, as gifts from his friends when he retired from service in 2014.
“It is a huge error that the prosecution did not tender the money as exhibit throughout the trial but made futile efforts after it had closed its case.
“In all, the defendant’s evidence cast a huge doubt on that of the EFCC and the doubt must be resolved in his favour.”