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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ex-NNPC GMD drags CBN, EFCC to court over $9.8m seized cash

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Former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the defunct Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, has filed a lawsuit against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the custody of $9.8m cash belonging to him.

Andrew Yakubu is suing CBN and EFCC alongside a commercial bank, for their refusal to release the $9.8 million which belonged to him. The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/231/2023 is before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja.

In the originating summons filed on March 8, 2023, Andrew is asking the court to issue an order directing the defendants to immediately release the money to him in view of the court judgment. The former NNPC GMD is seeking clarification on whether the EFCC ought to still have his seized money in its custody after a judgment in his favour on March 31, 2022.

Yakubu’s legal representative, Ahmed Raji, SAN, filed the suit, and in the originating summons, he asked the court whether the court did not become dominus litis of the respective sums of $9,773,200 and £74,000 belonging to his client when the same was put in issue and in evidence before the court in charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/43/2017 between Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Engr Andrew Yakubu, and in respect of which judgment was delivered on the 31st of March 2022.

Andrew Yakubu is seeking an order directing the respondents to immediately transfer the said monies into an account under the control of the FHC chief registrar or into an account to be operated by the chief registrar, the EFCC, and him, pending the determination of the appeal. The former NNPC GMD argued that the monies ought to be released to him forthwith or paid into an account under the control of the registry of the court, pending the outcome of the appeal lodged by the EFCC against the said judgment.

However, the EFCC asked the court to dismiss the suit in a notice of preliminary objection. EFCC argued that the suit constituted an abuse of court process and that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter. EFCC also informed the court that two other appeals arising from the case were pending at the Supreme Court with appeal number: SC/CR/241/2020, between the Federal Government and Yakubu, and appeal number: $C/CR/223/2020 between Yakubu and FG. An appeal regarding the said judgment is also before the court of appeal in Abuja.

The EFCC prayed the court to discountenance Andrew’s application and uphold its preliminary objection in the interest of justice. At the resumption of hearing, Andrew’s lawyer, A.A. Usman informed the court that they were in receipt of counter-affidavits from the defendants and would need time to respond.

GTB’s lawyer, Idaye Imbu, also told the judge that a motion to regularize their processes had been filed. The court granted the Bank’s prayer as other party’s did not oppose it, but subsequently, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until May 18 for hearing.

In 2017, the EFCC had raided Andrew’s house and seized $9,772,800 alongside £74,000 from his home. The EFCC suspected that the funds were proceeds of crime, arraigned him on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge bordering on money

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