An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ala Shehu Mohammed Tuesday painted a graphic picture of how former Chief of Naval Staff, Jibrin Usman purchased in proxy a N600m property with funds belonging to the Nigerian Navy.
Jibrin was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a four count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy alongside Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia (retd) and Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (retd) for allegedly buying a house worth N600m from the account of Naval Engineering Services without the said purchase contract being captured in the budget.
EFCC further alleged that the documentation for transfer of ownership of the property was done such that a private company owned by the family of Jibrin became the buyer of the house.
Mohammed, who was giving evidence Tuesday before Federal Capital Territory High Court as the first prosecution witness, said investigation revealed that on 13/3/2014, the sum of N600m was transferred from the account of Naval Engineering Services Ltd to Petrus Ogwu Nig. Ltd for the purchase of a property at No. 7 Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja.
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, J.O. Uzor, the witness said the property was bought by Harbour Bay Int’l, a company linked to the family of the ex-Chief of Naval Staff.
He said the transfer was made from the Diamond Bank account of the Naval Engineering with the authority of the second and third defendants, Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia (rtd) and Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (rtd).
“We requested for the instrument of transfer of the fund and it was provided to the EFCC showing the 2nd and 3rd defendant as the ones that authorised the transfer.
“We invited the owner of the account of Petrus Ogwu Nigeria Ltd, one Peter Oguebie. In the course of interview, he informed us that he received the sum of N600million which was for the sale of his property at No. 7 Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja he sold to Harbor Bay Int’l,” the witness said.
“Further investigation revealed that Harbor Bay was duely registered with CAC to Mrs. Lami Jibrin, the wife of the first defendant and one Abdulkadir Jibrin, the son to the first defendant; both are Directors of the company.
“Investigation letter was sent to Nigerian Navy to release the second and third defendant, being the signatories of Naval Engineering Services Ltd account with Diamond bank and they reported to EFCC.
“The second and third defendants told us it was a directive they received from the then Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin (first defendant) to transfer the sum of N600m for the purchase of the property on No. 7 Colorado Close, Maitama”.
He said the Director of Harbor Bay, Mrs. Lami Jibrin was also invited and interrogated. She denied knowledge of the transaction.
He said the first defendant accompanied his wife to the Commission and he was also interrogated and his statement was taken down.
The witness said a letter was written to the Nigerian Navy to provide the Commission with their budget. “The response was analysed and there was no where we saw the provision for the purchase of property for the Chief of Naval Staff in the 2013 and 2014 budget of the Nigerian Navy”.
While the prosecution sought to tender correspondence between the investigating team and Diamond bank, Jibrin’s counsel, Y. C. Maikyau (SAN) objected to its admissibility on the grounds that some of the attached documents were not duly certified by the necessary authorities.
The trial judge, Justice A. S. Umar adjourned the matter to November 26, 2016 for ruling on the admissibility of documents and continuation of trial.