The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday rejected a request to suspend the trial of a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu, in respect of the charges of money laundering and non-declaration of assets instituted against him.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Yakubu on charges bordering on the sums of $9,772, 800 and £74,000.00, recovered from his home in Kaduna, Kaduna State, on February 3, 2017.
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Justice Ahmed Mohammed ruled on Wednesday that although both the prosecution and the defence had appealed to the Supreme Court to challenge various parts of the April 24, 2020 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja on the defendant’s no-case submission, he lacked the power to stay proceedings in the case by virtue of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The judge also cited the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of a former spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, in which the apex court validated the provision of Section 306 of ACJA.
The EFCC had filed six counts of money laundering against Yakubu in 2017.
But after the EFCC concluded its case by calling all its witnesses, the defendant filed a no-case submission, urging the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the prosecution failed to link him to any of the alleged offences.
Ruling on the no-case submission on May 16, 2019, Justice Mohammed struck out two of the six counts but ruled that the defendant had a case to answer in respect of the four remainning.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Yakubu appealed to the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of the two counts and the order by Justice Mohammed for Yakubu to open his defence in respect of the remaining four counts.
At the resumed hearing in the case before Justice Mohammed on Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, suggested a suspension of the trial pending the determination of the appeals filed by both the prosecution and the defence concerning the case at the Supreme Court.
But the defence lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), opposed the request for suspension of the trial.
Justice Mohammed agreed with Raji and adjourned till July 8 for continuation of trial.