The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday ruled in favour of a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu, stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from confronting him with a document adjudged not to be relevant to his ongoing trial.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed in a ruling sustained the objection raised by Yakubu’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), to the move by the EFCC to question the defendant on the document marked Exhibit J.
Exhibit J was said to have been obtained from a separate case before another judge of the Federal High Court.
Yakubu is being prosecuted by the EFCC on charges bordering on the cash sums of $9,772, 800 and £74,000 recovered from him by the operatives of the commission.
Following his no-case submission which he filed after the prosecution presented its case, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, dismissed two of the counts in a ruling delivered on May 16, 2019.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja also in an April 24, 2020 judgment, affirmed Justice Mohammed’s ruling and dismissed two additional counts.
This left Counts 2 and 3 for Yakubu to defend.
The remaining two counts which Yakubu was ordered to defend by the Court of Appeal are about allegations that between 2012 and 2014, in Abuja, he allegedly received cash payments of $9,772,800 and £74,000 without going through a financial institution, in alleged violation of section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under 16(2)(b) of the Act.
Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment, Yakubu opened his defence on July 8 by testifying for himself as the first defence witness. While the defendant was being cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, his lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), objected to the attempt by the prosecutor to make use of a document marked Exhibit J.
Raji’s reason for objecting was that the document was only relevant to the counts already dismissed by the Court of Appeal and not the remaining two counts.
In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Mohammed said, “To allow the prosecution to cross-examine the defendant on the contents of Exhibit J which have already found to be irrelevant will amount to an absolute waste of precious judicial time.”
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