The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, refused to admit a document sought to be tendered in evidence by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, held that the motion was inadmissible because EFCC was unable to bring to the court its certified true copy.
The Counsel to EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, had, on Nov. 5, tendered a document in 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 the anti-corruption agency took away when its operatives 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.
But while being cross examined before Justice Mohammed by the anti-graft lawyer in the last adjourned date, the former GMD, said it was from the EFCC he got to know that the confiscated money was in CBN branch in Kano State.
However, Yakubu’s Lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, urged the court not to admit the document on the premise that Abubakar ought to have come with its certified true copy being a public document.
In his ruling on Monday, Justice Mohammed said though 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 is at the custody of the Supreme Court.
He said 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.
Justice Mohammed, who also refused to hear the EFCC’s motion, seeking an order to visit the locus in quo (i.e the CBN in Kano) because it was not fixed for the day’s proceeding, adjourned the matter until Jan. 14, 2021, to hear the anti-graft agency’s motion.
The EFCC, in 2017, raided the house of the former NNPC GMD in Kaduna State and found 9, 772, 800 dollars (9.7 million dollars) and 74, 000 pounds in a safe.
Yakubu was, however, arraigned on March 16, 2017, on six counts but was ordered by the Court of Appeal to defend counts three and four which bordered on failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution and intent to avoid a lawful transaction in alleged violation of Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.