A Prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, on Tuesday gave a vivid account of how the sum of $9.7 million and £74,000 was recovered in hidden in a fireproof safe allegedly belonging to Yakubu.
The witness, Mr. Waziri Adamu Nitte, who is the second so far called by the prosecution told the Federal High Court in Abuja at the resumed trial that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on February 7,2017 received an intelligent report that there was a house located at Sabon Tasha in Kaduna State where some foreign currencies were stocked in.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting Counsel Prince Ben Ikani, the witnes, a Deputy Superintendent with the EFCC told the court that the operatives of the anti-graft agency, while acting on the intelligence report swiftly obtained a valid search warrant and proceeded to Kaduna State whereby they were able to locate the said house situated at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna State.
He said, on locating the house, they requested to meet with the caretaker of the house who turned out to be one Bitrus Yakubu, a relative of the defendant.
“We introduced ourselves to him and told him what brought us. We also showed him the search warrant we came along with. We thereafter brought an expert and instructed that the door be broken and we were able to have access to the house where a search was conducted.
“We conducted the search and we were able to recover an ash coloured (Gubabi Brown) four doors drawer safe, we also recovered a white coloured excess PC and there and then, we listed the items as recovered item, read it over to Bitrus and other witnesses that were present.
” Because of the sensitivity of the items we recovered in the house, we took it along with Bitrus who was the Caretaker of the house down to our office. We then engaged the services of a lock key expert to unlock the safe. All these were done in in Camera.
“Upon unlocking the safe, we saw foreign currencies mostly packed in different polythene bags stocked in all the four drawers. We employed the services of some local experts known as “WAPA” where Bureau De Change operatives usually work.
“We engaged three people, Mohammed Musa Al- Hassan, Akibu Daudu, and Kabiru Abdulaziz to help us count the money. The money was duly counted all on camera and the whole amount in the safe after the counting was done was $9,772,000,800USD and 74 thousand pound sterling.
“All this was done in the presence of Mr. Bitrus Yakubu and also recorded on camera” the witness said and added that in the course of his investigation, he witnessed the statement of Bitrus Yakubu and additional statement of the defendant, Andrew Yakubu.
The safe, statement of Bitrus and Yakubu were tendered in evidence and the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed thereafter admitted the evidence tendered and marked as exhibits A, B1 and B2 respectively.
Meanwhile, during cross examination by the defence counsel, Ahmed Raji, (SAN), the witness said he knew there was a search warrant but didnot know where it was obtained.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to Jan 16, 2018 for continuation of trial.
The former NNPC boss, was arraigned by the EFCC on a six-count of money laundering and false declaration of assets.
The defendant was granted bail in the sum of N300million with two sureties in like sum.