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It may not be an easy kill for the whistle blower who provided lead to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the sudden recovery of the $9.8m currently in custody of the agency.
Ordinarily, the whistle blower may not have expected such stiff fight back by the embattled former boss of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Andrew Yakubu.
This is stemming from the fact that the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday admitted Yakubu, former Group Managing Director of NNPC, to N300 million bail with two sureties.
Business Hilights gathered that insinuations were rife that the $9.8 million recovered by the EFCC from him was the fallout of a clash between Yakubu and his political opponents in Kaduna States, who used a very close family member of the former NNPC boss to snitch on him to the anti-graft agency.
A special operation conducted by EFCC operatives on February 3, 2017 on a building belonging to Yakubu in Kaduna, yielded the staggering sum and another £74,000 in cash. The huge cash was hidden in a fire proof safe in the building.
Yakubu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on six counts bordering on non-disclosure of assets and fraud, charges to which he pleaded not guilty.
One of the charges read in parts: “Group Managing Director of NNPC, between 2012 and 2014, within the jurisdiction of the court, with intent to avoid lawful transaction, transported to Kaduna $9.7 million and €74,000’’.
He was also accused of failure to disclose the sum of $9.7 million and €74,000 to the EFCC in his asset declaration form, a crime which contravened Section 27 (3) of the EFCC Act.
But at the resumed hearing to determine bail application, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, said that from the arguments canvassed and placed before him by the defence team, Yakubu was not likely to jump bail.
Mohammed said that bail was also granted particularly since the prosecution confirmed that it had concluded its investigation.
He therefore admitted Yakubu to bail, but refused the application seeking the release of his international passports to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.
However, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), counsel to Yakubu, urged the court to grant his client bail since he surrendered himself to the EFCC upon their invitation even when he was abroad for medical treatment.
Raji had also argued that the offences Yakubu was accused of, which bordered on false asset declaration, money laundering and fraud, were bailable and that he had never been convicted before.