I got cash gifts after leaving office, ex-NNPC boss tells court

Ex- Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that a substantial part of the money found at his Kaduna residence by EFCC in 2017 was the gift he got after leaving office.

Yakubu disclosed this while giving testimony before Justice Ahmed Mohammed as defence star witness in an alleged money laundering case instituted against him by the anti-graft agency.

This medium reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had, in 2017, raided the residence of the ex-NNPC boss in Kaduna State and found $9,772, 800 and £74, 000 in a safe.

Consequently, Yakubu was arraigned by the agency in 2017, on six counts.

 However, he was later ordered by the Court of Appeal to defend counts 3 and 4 which bordered on failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution and intent to avoid a lawful transaction in alleged violation of Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.

Responding to questions from Ahmed Raji, his Counsel, and a senior advocate of Nigeria, Yakubu confirmed that the money discovered in his property by the EFCC belonged to him.

He said, “Yes, my lord, I confirm that the money in a safe in counts 3 and 4 was taken from my property.

“As I stated in my statement to EFCC, the money found in the safe is mine.

“The money was not received in bulk; it was received in tranches of not more than $10,000 and not more than £5,000.

“And the substantial part of the amount was given to me after I left office and it was given to me on the occasions of birthday, thanksgiving service and other celebrations I hosted after leaving office,” he said.

According to him, it also included gift I got from him. Marriages of my daughters.

“Approximately, the substantial amount of about 98 per cent was given to me,” he added.

Explaining further, Yakubu said the purpose of keeping the money was to think about a business venture he could embark on after his retirement.

“My lord, since the money was given to me unexpectedly, I kept the money in safety in the safe pending when I will decide on a business venture to embark on and as soon as that decision crystallized, the business will be funded through a financial institution,” he said.

On the remaining two per cent of the money, he said he got them through estacodes he received from international trips he had while in office.

“For over 25 years, I had reason by virtue of my schedule to travel to many parts of the world outside Nigeria and so I was entitled to estacodes in the United States dollars and any saving (earning) I made my lord during the trip, I had reason to save.

“So my lord, the remaining 2% is from the travels,” he said.

According to Yakubu, he started the saving in the safe where the money was found at his residence between 2010 and 2014.

Meanwhile, before Counsel to the EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, began his cross examination, Justice Mohammed announced an adjournment for continuation trial and July 22 date was fixed.

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