After spending five days at the Kuje prison in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday admitted former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu to bail in the sum of N300 million.
The Federal Government had last Thursday arraigned Yakubu before Justice Mohammed on a six count criminal charge bordering on fraud and false declaration of assets, but he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
As a result of Yakubu’s not guilty plea, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Ben Ikani asked the court to remand the former NNPC boss in prison custody pending the hearing of the suit.
It would be recalled that operatives of the EFCC had in February, 2017, raided a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered the sum of $9.7m and £74,000 stashed in a huge fireproof safe in Kaduna State. At Thursday’s proceedings, the ex-NNPC boss pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him.
Consequently, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Ben Ikani asked the court to remand Yakubu pending the hearing of the suit. However, Yakubu’s lawyer, Mr. Raji Ahmed (SAN) told the court that he had filed an application for his client’s bail. Raji had urged the court to admit Yakubu to bail either on self-recognisance or on liberal terms.
The defence lawyer drew the court’s attention to Yakubu’s alleged health impediments, saying he (Yakubu) honoured EFCC’s invitation from abroad where he had gone for medical attention. While delivering his ruling on Yakubu’s bail request on Tuesday, Justice Mohammed held that the defendant’s charges were bailable, saying, Yakubu on his own volition honoured EFCC’s invitation over the charges.
The trial judge, however, refused the defendant’s request for release of his international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical attention on the ground that the request was not ripe for hearing.
Justice Mohammed while admitting Yakubu to bail held: “I admit the applicant (Yakubu) to bail pending trial in this case.”The bail is on the following terms: the sum of N300 million, two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties shall be a holder of landed property anywhere within the FCT, Abuja.
“The value of the property shall cover the amount of the bond. The second surety shall be a person gainfully employed and resident in Abuja with a permanent address.
The sureties shall both swear to affidavit of means to cover the amount of the bond. “The defendant shall deposit his international passport with the Chief Registrar of this court,” the judge said.
Before adjourning the suit till May 9, for the commencement of trial, Justice Mohammed ordered that Yakubu be remanded in prison custody until the satisfaction of the bail conditions, adding that he should not travel outside the country during the trial.
Source – The Authority