How We Discovered $9.7m in Yakubu’s House – Witness

Tasiu Abubakar, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Tuesday, painted a graphic picture of how the sum of $9,772,800 and money in other currencies were discovered in the house of former Group General Manager of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) located at Sabon Tasha area in Kaduna State.
Abubakar is the first prosecuting witness in the ongoing trial of Yakubu who is facing a six-count charge of money laundering and false asset declaration.
The witness, led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Prince Ben Iyani, explained to the court that the money was discovered through intelligence gathering.
He said: “On that fateful day the Zonal Head of Kano received an intelligence information that there was a house located at Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna State that there was sum of money kept in a house. The zonal office’s intelligence and special operation section whose function is to carry out such operation, was intimated with the information.
“Based on that the Zonal Head of Operation directed the unit to proceed to Kaduna and carry out surveillance.
“When I and my team arrived the house the caretaker identified himself as Beatrice Yakubu. After normal introduction we presented a search warrant to him.
“The names of the people in my team were Sanusi Abdullahi, Aliyu Abdulkabu, Adamu Waziri, Suleman Mohammed.
“He now told us that he is the defendant’s brother and so we discovered that the caretaker did not have the key to the house and so we had to call an iron bender.
“The iron bender came with his breaking tools and unlocked the door”
He added:”Our team is attached with a cameraman from the media unit of the EFCC whose name is Suleman Mohammed
“The main door was unlocked and we moved in with the Beatrice and the iron bender.
“We further discovered another door inside which was also unlocked. Immediately the doors was opened we discovered a four panel safe and we asked Beatrice who is the owner of that safe, which he said the safe belongs to the defendant.
“And so we moved the safe out of the apartment along with Beatrice and we searched the apartment and discovered the white excel CPU component.
“After discovering the safe, the team along with the defendant’s brother proceeded to the EFCC office in Kano were the Zonal Head of Operation and other senior officers invited key experts and the safe was unlocked in the presence of the defendant’s brother.
“When the first panel was opened, we discovered foreign currencies, specifically US dollars, and pounds sterling.
“They unlocked the second to fourth panel where all different panels contained money.
“After that the zonal head employed the services of bureau the change who came along with currency counting machine and all this process was covered by the media unit and then the money counted was $9.7m as well as £74,000.
“The defendant confirmed the amount which was counted and we made a paper with the names of all the witnesses including the bureau the change (BDC) who helped in counting and their statements were taken. Immediately the money was registered as exhibit.
He stated further: “At the time when the money was discovered, the defendant was out of the country for medical trip. He was contacted and he now reported to the zonal office, he came along with his counsel James Kanyi, who was interviewed in the present of his lawyer
“I administered the word of caution and he read it to the language he understood and he signed”.
Furthermore the witness said the defendant admitted that the house where the safe was found belongs to him.
“After the statement we seek for an order of court for him to be detained”
Asked by Prince Ikani were the money currently is, the witness said that the money is kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) in a strong room.
The trial Judge, Justice Ahned Mohammed adourned until May 24 for continuation of trial.

Author: News Editor

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