The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday refused to admit a document, which EFCC sought to tender as evidence against Mr Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, held that the motion to tender the document was inadmissible because the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was unable to bring to the court its certified true copy.
It would be recalled that counsel to EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, had, on Nov. 5, tendered a document which Yakubu, who is the 1st Defendant Witness (DW1), tendered at the Supreme Court, seeking for an order of stay of execution, restraining the Federal Government from taking over the money which EFCC operatives took away when they raided his residence.
Abubakar said that Yakubu had deposed to an affidavit at the apex court that the money was kept at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kano by the EFCC.
Yakubu had told the court, under cross-examination by EFCC counsel in the last adjourned date, that he got to know from the EFCC that the confiscated money was kept in the Kano State branch of CBN.
However, Yakubu’s counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), urged the court not to admit the document because Abubakar ought to have come with a certified true copy of the document, being a public document.
In his ruling on Monday, Justice Mohammed said that although it was not in doubt that the document emanated from the Supreme Court, “subsequently, to tender the document, it ought to have been certified”.
Quoting Section 35 of the Evidence Act 2011, he said “the content of a document may be proved either by primary or secondary evidence.”
Mohammed held that the primary evidence of the motion to be tendered was the original copy, which was in the custody of the Supreme Court.
He stressed that for a motion to be tendered as a secondary evidence, it must have been certified, citing previous cases to back the ruling.
The judge, therefore, held that the document sought to be tendered by the EFCC was inadmissible in the law.
“It is, hereby, rejected and shall be marked: tendered and rejected accordingly,” he ruled.
Mohammed, who also refused to hear the EFCC’s motion, seeking an order to visit the locus in quo (the CBN in Kano) because it was not fixed for the day’s proceedings, adjourned the matter until Jan. 14, 2021 for the hearing of EFCC’s motion.
It would be recalled that the EFCC, in 2017, raided the house of the former NNPC GMD in Kaduna State and found 9, 772, 800 U.S. and 74, 000 pounds kept in a safe.
Yakubu was arraigned on March 16, 2017, on six counts but was ordered by the Court of Appeal to defend counts three and four, which relate to his failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution and intent to avoid a lawful transaction, in violation of Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.