The Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal has 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 a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu.
Spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
Operatives of the Commission had stormed a house allegedly belonging to the former NNPC boss on February 3, 2017. Upon raiding the house, the EFCC personnel uncovered the sum of $9,772,800 and another £74,000 stashed in a fireproof safe.
While Yakubu claimed the monies were gifts from well-wishers, the Commission suspected that they were proceeds of crime and proceeded to secure an interim forfeiture from the Federal High Court on the money.
The former NNPC boss, through his counsel Ahmed Raji, approached the Federal High Court in Kano asking the court to revoke the order.
The court presided over by Justice Z.B Abubakar on May 20, 2017, however, dismissed Yakubu’s application and affirmed the order of interim forfeiture it granted on February 13, 2017.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the Federal High Court, the former NNPC GMD approached the Court of Appeal in his bid to reverse the interim forfeiture order and recover his money.
He filed the appeal on May 22, 2017, while the EFCC filed its response which was subsequently adopted on January 29, 2018, and the matter was then adjourned till April 27, 2018, for judgment.
The appeal was brought on grounds of jurisdiction and misrepresentation of fact by EFCC that the money was suspected to be proceeds of illegal activities.
Mr Raji argued that Section 29 of the EFCC Establishment Act was null and void as well as submitted that Section 28 of the EFCC Act offended 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 contended that the ruling of the lower court validating its order was not perverse and that sections 28 and 29 of EFCC Act were valid and operational, notwithstanding the alleged failure of the AGF to make regulations for their operations.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Obietonbara Kalio who headed the panel of the three judges, the Appellate Court resolved all the issues in favour of EFCC.