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Court refuses to stop ex-NNPC GMD’s trial for alleged money laundering

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, declined to stop further proceedings in the trial of a former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, over alleged $9.8 million money laundering.

The judge held that although both parties had filed appeals at the Supreme Court, whose outcome would likely impact the case before him, he was constrained by virtue of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) to continue with the case as ordered by the Court of Appeal.

He noted that the provision of Section 306 of the ACJA and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh and the Federal Republic of Nigeria had effectively outlawed the grant of stay of proceedings in criminal cases on grounds of the filing of an interlocutory appeal.

READ ALSO: N6BN FRAUD: Ex-NNPC staff convicted, to forfeit pension, gratuity, properties

Justice Mohammed held that although both parties in the case were dissatisfied with the April 24 judgment of the Court of Appeal and had since appealed the decision, the court could not do otherwise but to comply with the provisions of the law.

He adjourned the case till July 8 for the defendant to enter his defence on count three and four, which were now left in the original six-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC arraigned Yakubu on March 16, 2017 on a six-count charge of failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction under law by transporting at various times to Kaduna, $9,772,800 and £74,000.

The commission alleged that the money was recovered by its agents from a safe allegedly hidden by the defendant in a house in Kaduna State.

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