NAN: Mr Andrew Yakubu, the former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, whose ‘gift’ of $9.7million and £74,000 was hidden in a nondescript house in Sabon Tasha in Kaduna city, has launched a move to have the seized money returned to him.
Vanguard reported that Yakubu has filed a petition before a Federal High Court in Kano, urging it to order the Federal Government to return the money valued at N3billion to him. No date for the hearing was reported.
According to some earlier reports, he told the EFCC that the money was a gift. The suit was filed on his behalf by Mr Ahmed Raji, SAN.
Andrew asked the court to set aside the forfeiture order that granted FG ownership of the money which was discovered by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on February 9.
Specifically, he wants the court to set aside the order and return the $9,772,800 and £74,000,000 which he said belongs to him.
The former NNPC boss insisted that the court lacked the jurisdiction to grant FG ownership of his money.
According to him, the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the motion that culminated to the forfeiture order since it related to a crime that was alleged committed in Abuja.
Raji contended that going by section 45 of the Federal High Court Act, an offence should be tried only by a court exercising jurisdiction in the area or place where the offence was committed.
“No aspect of the perceived offence in respect of which the Order of February 13, 2017, was made, was committed within the Kano judicial division of this Honourable Court”, Raji argued.
He further maintained that FG lacked the locus-standi to seek the interim order of the court granted on February 13.
“By Section 28 of the EFCC Act, only the commission, i.e. the EFCC has the vires to seek an order for the interim forfeiture of property under the Act.
“The power of this Honourable Court to make interim forfeiture order(s) pursuant to sections 28 & 29 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004 (hereinafter referred to a “EFCC Act”) is applicable ONLY to alleged offences charged under the EFCC Act and not to offences cognizable under any other law.
“The ex-parte order of this honourable court dated February 13, 2017, was made in respect of alleged offences under the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Act (hereinafter “ICPC Act”) and not the EFCC Act as prescribed by section 28 & 29 thereof.
“The conditions precedent to the grant of an interim forfeiture order under sections 28 & 29 of the EFCC Act were not complied with by the Applicant (FG) before the Order was made”, he submitted.
Yakubu was Group Managing Director of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014.
He was sacked by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan for alleged insubordination and corruption.
* This Report first appeared in Vanguard Nigeria.