The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday ordered the remand of Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in Kuje Prison, and fixed March 21 for ruling on bail application.
Yakubu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a six-count charge bordering on non-disclosure of assets and fraud, charges to which he pleaded not guilty.
Yakubu was alleged to have, as “Group Managing Director of NNPC, between 2012 and 2014, within the jurisdiction of this court, with intent to avoid lawful transaction, transported to Kaduna $9.7million 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.
Counsel to Yakubu, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN) in applying for bail for his client, prayed the court to admit him to bail either on self-recognition or on liberal terms.
Raji argued that the offences Yakubu was charged with were bailable, adding that he did not wait to be arrested, but surrendered himself to the anti-graft body when he was invited.
The lawyer also urged the court to order an interim release of his international passport to enable him travel abroad for three weeks to complete a medical procedure he was undergoing before he was invited.
“He suspended the treatment to attend to the EFCC invitation and he needs to go back and complete it so that he can be healthy to stand trial.
“He was about to commence a procedure related to prostate cancer in the United Kingdom and requires further urgent attention.
“I urge the court to consider the fact that he has no prior criminal record and he was invited by the EFCC while abroad and he voluntarily surrendered himself.’’
Raji said that the subject matter of the six-count charge was already in EFCC custody and could not be moved by Yakubu or anyone else.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Ben Ikani, urged the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that some of the prayers were “putting the cart before the horse.’’
“We are talking of an application for bail and not a trip to anywhere. It is our submission that we are not yet where we will talk of the issue of traveling.
“We agree that his health is important, but the EFCC is a 21st century law enforcement agency and since he has been in our custody, we have been monitoring and taking care of his health.’’
Ikani maintained that the EFCC had the necessary facility to take care of Yakubu’s health, adding that there were good medical facilities in Abuja.
The prosecutor, however, held that in the event that the court was disposed to admitting Yakubu to bail, very stringent conditions should be applied to compel him to attend his trial.
The judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, adjourned the case till March 21 to rule on the bail application.