The first prosecution witness in the on-going trial of Ex-General Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Chief Andrew Yakubu told Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja of how the sum of $9,772,800M and £74,000 was discovered in his house located at Sabon Tarsha area in Kaduna.
Mr. Yakubu was arraigned on a six-count charge of money laundering and false asset declaration.
The witness, Mr Tasiu Abubakar who is a super pretendant of police attached to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) told the court that the zonal office is located at No 2 Hazkamp Road Kano.
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel Prince Ben Ikani the witness who was told to explain to the court what happened on the 2nd of February 2017 said:
“On that fateful day the Zonal Head of Kano received an intelligence information that there was a house located at Sabon Tarsha area of Kaduna state that there was a money kept in his house and the zonal office has an office called intelligence and special operation section known as isos which function is to carry out such operation
“Based on that the zonal head of operation directed the unit to proceed to Kaduna and carry out surveillance
“When I and my team arrived the house the caretaker came and identified himself as Bitrus Yakubu after normal introduction we presented a search warrant to him
“The names of the people in my team are Sanusi Abdullahi, Aliyu Abdulkabu, Adamu Waziri, Suleman Mohammed
“He now told us that he is the defendant’s brother and so we discovered that the caretaker did not have the key to the house and so we had to call an iron bender
“The iron bender came with his breaking tools and unlocked the door”
He added:”Our team is attached with a cameraman from the media unit of the EFCC whose name is Suleman Mohammed
“The main door was unlocked and we moved him with the Bitrus and the iron bender
“We further discovered another door inside which was also unlocked. Immediately the doors was opened we discovered bupapi and a four panel safe and we asked Mr Bitrus who is the owner of that safe, which he said the safe belongs to the defendant
“And so we moved the safe out of the apartment along with Bitrus and we search the apartment and discovered the white excel cpu component and that is all what we discovered
“After discovering the safe,the team along with the defendant brother proceeded to the EFCC office in Kano were the zonal head of operation and other senior officers invited key experts and the safe was unlocked in the presence of the defendant’s brother
“When the first panel was opened, we discovered foreign currency, specifically US dollars, and pounds sterling
“They unlocked the second to fourth panel where all different panels contained money
“After that the zonal head employed the services of bureau the change who came along with currency counting machine and all this process was covered by the media unit and then the money counted was $9. 8M as well as £74,000
“The defendant confirm the amount which was counted and we made a paper with the names of all the witnesses including the bureau the change (BDC) who helped in counting and their statement was taken in that count. Immediately the money was registered as exhibit
“At the time when the money was discovered, the defendant was out of the country for medical trip. He was contacted and he now reported to the zonal office, he came along with his counsel Mr James Kanyi, who was interviewed in the present of his lawyer
“I administered the word of caution and he read it to the language he understood and he signed”
On how he was asked by the prosecution counsel who wrote the statement he simply said: “I didn’t write the statement of the defendant whereas he wrote it by himself in the presence of the counsel in three pages”
Furthermore the witness said the defendant said that the house where the safe was found belongs to him
“After the statement we seek for an order of court for him to be detained”
Asked by Prince Ikani were the money currently is, the witness said that the money is kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) in a strong room.
Justice Mohammed adourned till 24th of May for continuation of trial.