BY MUSA SIMON REEF (ABUJA)
Nearly three weeks after he was clamped into detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in its Kano office over discovery of $9.8 million in his Sabon Tasha house, Kaduna, freedom may be long in coming for the embattled former Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Andrew Yakubu.
An EFCC source told this correspondent that the startling discovery of the huge sums found in the safe has prompted a thorough probe of Yakubu’s stewardship at the NNPC Towers. Dismissing hopes that Yakubu will soon be released after fulfilling his bail condition, the source said this discovery has put the Commission on its toes to engineer a forensic audit of the Iyan Atyap’s days as GMD of NNPC.
“The current case involving an oil company owned by Mr. Jide Omokore, an ally of the former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Madueke, over non-remittance of $1.6 billion to the Federal Government was not without some disagreements as to whether to include Yakubu as an accused. But somehow, the Commission settled for the option of allowing Yakubu serve as prosecutor’s witness.
“Apart from that, the Commission is still working on earlier information given by the whistle blower that there were four safes, instead of one. The Commission is, therefore, combing likely leads to uncover the location of other three safes that were said to be ferried to unknown destinations, few days before the EFCC raided the Sabon Tasha property of the former NNPC boss.
“If only one safe was found by the EFCC operatives when they stormed dollar safe of Yakubu in Sabon Tasha, where are the other three safes? There is therefore the need for the anti-graft commission to gather water-proof evidences and possibly get to the destination of the remaining safes.
“There is no way the EFCC will release him without tightening the loose ends in the investigations. It is believed that if the EFCC releases him, he may obstruct investigations. Once the Commission completes its work, it will not keep Yakubu a minute longer than necessary,” the source explained.
Recently, Rights Groups were outraged by the continued detention of the embattled former NNPC boss and called on the EFCC to release him immediately. The Advocates for Human Rights in Nigeria (AHRN) had condemned the continued detention of Yakubu, saying that the arrest was reflective of ongoing practice of intimidation and harassment of citizens,
“The continued detention of Engr. Yakubu today is yet another nail in the coffin of freedom in Nigeria. He is not a flight risk; he was out of the country when the alleged raid took place. As a responsible citizen, he flew back to meet with the anti-corruption agency and the court has since seized the funds temporarily, so why is he still in detention? He should be released and charged to court,” declared the Director of AHRN, Mr Lakun Anifowoshe..
Another group, The Southern Kaduna Coalition of Professionals (SKCOP) alleged that the former NNPC top shot was being persecuted because he hails from Southern Kaduna. In the words of the group, “If Andy Yakubu is not being persecuted because he comes from Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt, we challenge the EFCC to also parade all the people it claims to have recovered humongous sums of money from. Failure to so would mean the agency is lying, or has two sets of law for two kinds of Nigerians”
In a press statement signed by the General Secretary of SKCOP, Jaspar, “We are waiting to see if a court of law can establish that the said amount found in his home is a proceed of crime, or whether there is indeed a law that forbids anyone from keeping his earnings at home”.
Insisting that no law forbids Nigerians from keeping their hard-earned money in the homes, SKCOP alleged some persons were plotting to pull down “our illustrious son and sacrifice him to the dogs” as a means of weakening the strong among us ahead of the 2019 general elections.
BY MUSA SIMON REEF (ABUJA)