The Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal today affirmed the decision of the Federal High Court Kano which ordered the interim forfeiture of the money found in a house in Kaduna belonging to former Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engineer Andrew Yakubu.
On 3 February, 2017, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stormed a house allegedly belonging to the former NNPC boss and uncovered the sum $9,772,800 (Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand, Eight Hundred Dollars ) and another £74,000 (Seventy Four Thousand Pounds Sterling) stashed in a fireproof safe.
The money according to Yakubu, were gifts from well wishers. However the Commission suspected that the money was a proceed of crime and that prompted the EFCC to secure an interim forfeiture from the Federal High Court on the money.
Yakubu through his counsel Ahmed Raji SAN approached the Federal High Court in Kano asking the court to revoke the order.
The Federal High Court Kano presided over by Justice Z.B Abubakar on 10 May, 2017 dismissed the application of Yakubu and affirmed the order of interim forfeiture it granted on the 13th February, 2017.
Yakubu being dissatisfied with decision of the Federal High Court, approached the court of appeal in a bid to reverse the interim forfeiture order and get his money back.
The appeal was filed on the 22nd of May, 2017 while the Commission filed its response which was subsequently adopted on the 29th of January 2018 and matter was then adjourned to today for judgment.
The appeal was brought on grounds of jurisdiction, misrepresentation of fact by EFCC that the money was suspected to be proceeds of illegal activities.
He further argued that Section 29 of the EFCC Establishment Act is null and void while at the same time submitted that, Section 28 of the EFCC Act offends the provision of Section 44 (2)(k). In Section 43 of the EFCC Establishment Act.
The learned silk argued that the Attorney General of the Federation did not make regulations and guidelines consequently, all forfeiture made shall be null and void.
However, the respondents in their reply contended that the ruling of the lower court validating its order was not perverse and that sections 28 and 29 of EFCC Act are valid and operational notwithstanding the alleged failure of the AGF to make regulations for their operations.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Obietonbara Daniel Kalio who headed the panel of the three judges, the appellate court resolved all the issues in favour of EFCC.