$9.8m cash: Court rejects EFCC request on video during EX-NNPC boss trial
THE Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on wednesday, rejected an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to play a video during the trial of the former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu.
The EFCC had sought leave of the court, to play the video which was part of exhibits M, N, and N1 before the court.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, while delivering his ruling on the request, held that only the maker of a document can be cross-examined on the content of a document.
Mohammed held that allowing the EFCC proceed would negate the precedents before the court.
He said Yakubu, who was not the maker of the video could not be cross examined on its content.
The prosecution lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, while preparing to proceed with the crossexamination of the first defence witness, Andrew Yakubu, drew the court’s attention to a pending application which he sought to move before the court.
The application was dated June 18, 2021 and filed June 25, 2021. The application was to the effect that the prosecution was praying for the leave of the court to recall two of the prosecution witnesses.
Yakubu’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, objected to this, saying, “It is strange to interrupt a crossexamination with an application that has nothing to do with the witness in the box. I urge my lord to direct him to finish crossexamination, then we can now move to other ancillary matters.”
He stated that it would set a dangerous precedent and urged the court to defer the hearing of the application until the evidence of Yakubu, the Dw 1 has been concluded.
In response, the prosecution lawyer stated that, “It is correct that the application sought to be moved may not have a direct impact on Dw 1. However, it is the prosecution’s prayer that since there is a pending application before the court, it should be taken in the probable cause that the court grants the application of the prosecution, the court has the discretion to direct the prosecution to recall the witnesses when it is deemed expedient.”
The court deferred the application to recall witnesses and ruled that the cross-examination of Dw 1 should continue.
Justice Mohammed noted that allowing the application to recall witnesses during the cross-examination would make things untidy.
During his cross-examination, Yakubu told the court that about 98 per cent of the recovered sums of $9,772,800 and £74,000 recovered from one of his properties came as gifts from the wedding of his child, his birthday, tournaments, his empowerment foundation after he had left office between late 2014 and early 2016.
when asked by the prosecution lawyer to name who the gifts were from, Yakubu told the court that he could not recall as the friends were numerous and the show of love on these occasions were overwhelming.
After listening to arguments from both parties, the court ruled that it was not inclined to grant the application for adjournment considering the time that had been spent on cross-examination.
“However, since the prosecution said he wanted to bring documents, they would be obliged in the interest of justice to do so,” Mohammed said.
The Court consequently adjourned the case to July 29.