A Federal High Court, in Abuja has instructed a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, to open his defence in the $9.8 million fraud charge leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The accused had earlier filed a no-case submission to halt the case.
The spokesperson of the commission, Tony Orilade, in a statement, on Thursday, said the judge, Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter to July 3, 2019, so the defence can open its case.
Mr Yakubu has been accused of failing to fully disclose his assets and receiving cash illegally.
The EFCC had, on February 3, 2017, raided Mr Yakubu’s house, located in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State, from where $9,772, 800 and £74,000 were recovered.
Mr Yakubu, on February 8, 2017, reported to the Commission’s Kano Zonal Office where he admitted being the owner of both the house and the money recovered.
He was later arraigned on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge for “failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering.”
The anti-graft agency on October 17, 2018, closed its case against him, after calling the seventh witness, Suleiman Mohammed, an operative with the commission. The witness testified on how operatives recovered the stashed cash.
However, Mr Yakubu through his counsel, Ahmed Raji, filed a no-case submission on December 5, 2018, arguing that the evidence provided in court, “did not establish a case against him, and so the charges should be dismissed.”
Mr Mohammed, on April 1 granted Mr Yakubu’s permission to travel abroad for medical treatment to the United Kingdom.
During the ruling on Thursday, Justice Mohammed dismissed the no-case submission.
He held that: “I agree with the defence counsel that the prosecution has failed to prove the essential element of transportation of money on counts five and six.
“Even though, I am tempted to discharge the defendant on counts one to four, I am however constrained to ask the defendant to explain how he came about the monies recovered from his house.
“Fortified with my position, the defendant is hereby ordered to enter his defence in respect of counts one to four.”
Mr Mohammed, thereafter, adjourned the matter to July 3, 2019.
Mr Yakubu will now be expected to open his case on counts one to four, which is on failure to make full disclosure of assets and receiving cash without a financial institution- an offence punishable under Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012.