$9.8m cash: You can’t amend charges against Ex-NNPC GMD, court tells EFCC

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has bared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from amending the criminal charge it filed against a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order, Thursday, while ruling on an application by the EFCC on Thursday.

The anti-graft agency is seeking to amend the criminal charge against Yakubu.

But while dismissing the application filed on March 10, Justice Mohammed held that there is a subsisting judgment delivered on April 24, 2020 wherein the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division had ordered the defendants to enter defence on counts 3 and 4 of the charge.

“Allowing the EFCC to amend counts 3 and 4 of the criminal charge,” according to the court, “is tantamount to disobeying the subsisting order made by the Court of Appeal on April 24, 2020.”
“Judgment of the Court of Appeal was specific and unambiguous” the court noted.

Yakubu it will be recalled was arraigned before Justice Ahmed Mohammed on March 16, 2017 on a six-count charge of fraud having admitted owning over $9.8 million cash found in a house that also belongs to him in Kaduna state.

Prior to Thursday hearing, the prosecution counsel, Halima Shehu had informed the court of the application for amendment of the charge.
“The application is brought pursuant to Section 216(1) and (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

“We humbly apply for the application to be granted for us to amend the charge,” the EFCC lawyer stated.

Responding, Yakubu’s lawyer, Usman admitted before the court that he refused service of the application to amend the charge.

“I do confirm that we refused service of what has been described as an amended charge this morning. We did so with reasons” Usman stated.
Usman posited that the April 24, 2020 judgment of the Court of Appeal Abuja had provided guide on the trial.

“The case was remitted back to the trial court for the appellant (Yakubu) to enter defence in respect of counts 3 and 4 of the charge, and not counts 3 and 4 of an amended charge,” Yakubu’s lawyer argued.

After hearing out parties in the matter, Justice Mohammed then adjourned continuation of trial till 30th of June.