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Former Nigerian Navy Chief Bought N600 million property By Proxy – EFCC

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A witness on Tuesday told a Federal Capital Territory High Court how former Chief of Naval Staff, Usman Jibrin, bought a N600 million property using a private company, Harbour Bay International Limited, as front.

Harbour Bay has Mr. Jibrin’s wife, Lami as director, and other directors said they never authorised the transaction, the witness told the court presided by Justice A. Umar.

Shehu Mohammed, a senior detective superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the court that he met the former naval chief in 2014, when the EFCC got suspicious of some money in an account.

Mr. Jibrin and two others are charged with offences bordering on criminal conspiracy. The other accused persons are retired rear admirals Bala Mshelia and Sheu Ahmadu.

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EFCC Operatives

They were arraigned alongside Harbour Bay International Limited by the EFCC on September 27.

The witness said the former naval chief, while in office, bought the house worth N600 million from the account of Naval Engineering Services without the purchase being captured in the budget.

While being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel J. Uzo, Mr. Mohammed told the court that investigation led his team to the Diamond Bank account of Petrus Ogwu Nigeria Limited.

According to him, the investigation led to the arrest of some officials of Diamond Bank, as well as operators of the said account.

He said subsequent findings revealed a deposit of N600 million, transferred on March 13, 2014, by Naval Engineering Services to the account of Petrus Ogwu.

It was later revealed that the second and third defendants (Messrs. Mshelia and Ahmadu), instructed the transfer, the witness said.

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The signatory to the Petrus Ogwu account, Peter Ogueuie, received the N600 million for the sale of a property at No 7, Colorado close, Maitama, Abuja.

Investigation of the Naval Engineering Service showed that Messrs. Mshelia and Ahmadu were the signatories to its account domiciled with Diamond Bank from which the money was transferred.

The investigation team was said to have been informed that the payment was made based on directives received from the then chief of naval staff, Mr. Jibrin, to transfer the money for the purchase of the property.

“We asked the Nigerian Navy to furnish us with its budget, the response was duly analysed and there was no where we saw provision for the purchase of the property,” Mr. Mohammed said,

“We invited the management of Naval Engineering limited and the MD had an interview with us having reported to us; and he said he is not aware of any property at No 7. Colorado close, Maitama, Abuja belonging to the Naval engineering service limited,” Mr. Mohammed said.

Petrus Ogwu represented by Peter Ogueuie showed that the property was sold to Harbour Bay and the deed of assignment, power of attorney and sales agreement were signed between Petrus Ogwu Nigeria Limited and Harbour Bay, copies of which were submitted to the EFCC.

The documents were tendered before the court and admitted as exhibits.

While the prosecution sought to tender correspondence between the investigating team and Diamond bank, Y. C. Maikyau, counsel to Mr. Jibrin, objected to its admissibility on the grounds that some of the attached documents were not duly certified by the necessary authorities.

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The judge adjourned the matter to November 26 for ruling on the admissibility of documents and continuation of trial.

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