The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has approached the Federal High Court Abuja, seeking to amend the charge filed against a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Yakubu was arraigned before Justice Ahmed Mohammed on March 16, 2017 on a six-count charge bordering on fraud.
Yakubu had admitted to owning over 9.8 million dollars cash found in a house in Kaduna State.
At the resumed trial on Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Halima Shehu informed the court of the application for amendment of the charge.
“My Lord, the matter today is for continuation of trial, however, we have an amended charge dated March 8, and filed on March 10, 2021.
“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.”
Shehu told the court that she had tried serving the amended charge on the defendant (Yakubu) through his counsel, Mr. A.A Usman, but he refused service.
Responding, Usman admitted 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 said.
According to him, the April 24, 2020, judgment of the Court of Appeal Abuja, had provided a guide on the trial.
“The case was remitted back to the trial court for the appellant (Yakubu) to enter defence in respect of counts three and four of the charge, and not counts three and four of an amended charge.”
Usman also argued that the court and parties in the matter were bound to give effect to the order of the Court of Appeal which is extant.
He insisted that the proposed application by the EFCC counsel was a deliberate attempt to delay proceedings in the trial.
He urged the court to refuse the proposed amendment and also said the amendment was pre-judicial to say the least.
Responding on points of law, the EFCC counsel told the court that Usman could not speculate about an amended charge before the court, which he had confirmed to the court that he refused service.
“He cannot turn around and object to an application he has not sighted,” she said.
She told the court that the appellate court did not make any further order that would make the prosecution not to amend the charge.
“Rather, the Court of Appeal ordered the defendant to enter defence on counts there and four.
“We humbly urge the court to grant our application to amend the charge.”
The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter until April 15 to rule on the application to amend the charge and for continuation of trial.