Court orders Ex-Minister’s children, coy to pay NERFUND N61m

Mrs Zainab Maina
  • As Ex-NNPC GMD loses bid to stop forfeiture of $9.8m

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered promoters of Bakrad International Limited and the children of former Women Affairs Minister, Mrs Zainab Maina, to pay N61 million to the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND).

The said money was an outstanding principal loan and accrued 13.50 per cent interest of a loan granted them to finance a business.

NERFUND filed a suit against Bakrad International Limited before the court and‎ joined Maina’s children, Umar and Rahinatu Maina as the first and second defendants respectively.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, directed the defendants to pay NERFUND N61 million as agreed upon by both parties during the transaction.

According to Justice Mohammed, the defendants failed to put forward any defence to the plaintiff’s action hence the plaintiff was entitled to judgment of the court.

“Since I earlier held that the defendants have not given any defence to the plaintiff’s claim on the merit, the plaintiff is entitled to judgment of the court.

“I therefore make the following orders: judgment is hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff against the defendants in this suit.

“The defendants are hereby directed jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff the sum of N61, 057 million being the outstanding principal loan and the accrued 13.50 per cent interest agreed on the principal loan as at June 8, 2015.”

Earlier, the plaintiff ‘s writ of summons, deposed to by a staff of NERFUND, Sanusi Ramalan, averred that the defendants had refused to sign and/ or return three engrossed tripartite deed of legal mortgage.

This, alongside three copies of irrevocable power of attorney given by Mr Umar Maina in favour of NERFUND which was earlier forwarded to them for execution.

According to NERFUND, the property was used as collateral to secure the loan via a letter dated Jan. 9, 2013.

In the meantime, Federal High Court in Kano yesterday dismissed an application brought by a former Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, seeking to set aside the interim forfeiture order of $9.8 million found in his house in Kaduna.

Justice Zainab Abubakar said there was no merit in Yakubu’s application.

The ex-GMD asked the court to set aside its interim forfeiture order of February 13, on the $9,772,000 and £74,000 found in Sabon Tasha of Kaduna.

He alleged the court has no jurisdiction to entertain the matter and that the Federal Government did not have locus standi for the interim forfeiture order.

He said the court was only empowered to grant such an order in offences allegedly committed under the EFCC Act.

He alleged the Federal Government concealed and misrepresented the facts, which led to the issuance of the order.

A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “In her ruling, Justice Zainab dismissed the application for lack of merit.

“Consequently, all issues argued by the respective counsel were resolved against Yakubu.”

Yakubu was arraigned by the EFCC on March 16, before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

His arraignment was sequel to a raid which was carried out by the operatives of the commission on his property located at Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna State.

The search led to the discovery of $9,772,000 and £74,000 stashed in fire- proof safes.

A Superintendent of Police attached to EFCC, Tasiu Abubakar, on Tuesday told the Federal High Court in Abuja on how the cash was uncovered in Kaduna.

He said: “On February 2, the EFCC Zonal Head of Operation in Kano received information of money kept in Yakubu’s house in Sabon Tasha.

The zonal head directed the Intelligence and Special Operation Section (ISOS) to carry out an investigation on the said house.

“A search warrant was obtained and presented it to the caretaker of the house, Yakubu Bitrus, a brother to the defendant.

“We then demanded for the key to the house from his brother, who told us the key was not with him. But he then called an iron bender who came with break-in materials and opened the door.

“When we entered the room, we discovered another unlocked door and inside it we saw a grey colour Gubabi four panel safe and a white excel CPU component, which Bitrus said belonged to the defendant.

“After discovering the safe, the team along with the defendant’s brother, proceeded to EFCC office in Kano, where key experts were invited to unlock the safe.”

Additional report from Nation