Former Group Managing Director, GMD, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Kano, challenging an order by the court that the $9.7 million and £74,000, which were discovered in his house in Kaduna be forfeited to the federal government.
Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had last week revealed that it recovered the huge sums of money from a house belonging to Yakubu in Kaduna, which the former NNPC boss later explained were gifts.
The anti-corruption agency later filed an application at Kano federal high court seeking for the forfeiture of the monies which totaled over N3 billion. The application was granted.
But in a counter application filed by Ahmed Raji, SAN, on behalf of Yakubu, the former NNPC GMD argued that the court which granted the order had no such jurisdiction to entertain the case.
Raji argued that the alleged crime was committed in Abuja, which is outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court in Kano.
He said: “No aspect of the perceived offence in respect of which the Order of 13th February, 2017 was made, was committed within the Kano judicial division of this Honourable Court.
“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 senior lawyer also noted that the power of the Federal High Court, Kano to make interim forfeiture order pursuant to Sections 28 & 29 of the EFCC Act “is applicable ONLY to alleged offences charged under the EFCC Act and not to offences cognizable under any other law.”
He explained that “the ex-parte Order of this Honourable Court dated 13th February, 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 and 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 before the Order was made.
“In the instant case, no charge was brought against the Respondent/Applicant before the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the EFCC Act were activated to grant the ex-parte Order of 13th February, 2017,” Raji posited.