An officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ahmed Yahaya, told the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday how the 3bn equivalent of the sums of foreign currencies recovered from a Kaduna house of a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu, was moved to the Central Bank of Nigeria for safe-keeping.
Yahaya who is of the Kano zonal office of the commission was testifying as the third prosecution witness before Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
The EFCC is prosecuting Yakubu on six counts bordering on fraud and false declaration of assets instituted against him on March 10, 2017.
Operatives of the EFCC had recovered the sum of $9.7m and £74,000 stashed in a huge fireproof safe in a house belonging to Yakubu in a slum in Kaduna.
The sums of foreign currencies, which were the subject of the charges instituted against Yakubu, amounted to about N3bn.
The prosecution had on May 9, 2017 called its first witness, Mr. Tasiu Abubakar, who narrated to the court how the sums of $9,772,800 and £74,000 were recovered from Yakubu’s house in Kaduna.
Abubakar, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who was seconded to the EFCC, said he was part of a team of investigators that recovered a safe containing the money in a house in Sabo-Tasha, Kaduna allegedly owned by Yakubu.
Yahaya told the court on Tuesday that the recovered money was taken away from the house in iron boxes now being kept at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The witness, led in evidence by EFCC’s lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Ben Ikani, said he was the commission’s exhibit keeper in Kano State.
He said, “My lord I know the defendant. On February 3, 2017, at about 4:50pm, my head of operations called and informed me that a team of operatives attached to Intelligence Special Operation Section, ISOS, were coming back from Kaduna on special assignment and that they were coming back with a full cabinet safe.
“He told me to make all the arrangements for collection of the exhibits recovered. At about 6:30pm, the team of operatives arrived with the recovered exhibit and the caretaker of the said exhibit, known as Bitrus Yakubu.
“The recovered safe which was made by Gubabi was opened by experts and monies were discovered in that safe.
“The recovered monies were counted in the presence of the investigating team, the zonal head of operations, the deputy zonal head of operations and Mr. Bitrus Yakubu.
“Finally, a total sum of 97,725 pieces of 100notes of United States Dollars were discovered, valued at N9. 772million.
“Then six pieces of 50 notes of USD, valued at $300 and 1,480 pieces of 50 notes of Pound Sterling valued at £74, 000 were also recovered from the safe.
“The monies were duly packaged and registered in the Court Exhibit Register and tagged with CER-038/17. That was on February 7, 2017.
“On February 13, 2017, I received a court order by the legal department and investigative team for the interim forfeiture of the recovered amount.
“After all the relevant investigation, the whole monies were carried to the Kano branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria on March 17, 2017, for proper safe-keeping.”
The witness identified the safe from which the money was recovered.
The court had earlier admitted the safe in evidence as exhibit A.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), the witness told the court that he was not aware that EFCC took any insurance policy in respect of the money it kept at the CBN.