The trial of former Chief of Naval Staff, Usman Jibrin, on corruption charges began on Tuesday, before Justice A. S. Umar of the FCT High Court, Maitama, Abuja.
Usman was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside two other retired officers of the Nigerian Navy, Bala Mshelia and Shehu Ahmadu, on allegations of misappropriation of funds and money laundering.
At the resumption of trial, the prosecution presented its first witness, Shehu Ala, an operative of the EFCC, who narrated to the court how the former Naval Chief diverted the sum of N600 million belonging to the Navy treasury to a company’s account managed by his wife.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Joseph Uzor, the witness told the court that the EFCC received a petition on a fixed sum of money in Petrus Ogu Nigeria Limited domiciled with Diamond Bank Plc.
According to Ala, investigations revealed that “the sum of N600 million was on March 13, 2014 transferred to the Diamond Bank account by the Nigerian Naval Engineering Services Limited which was done by the second and third defendant – Mshelia and Ahmadu – who were then the signatories to the account.”
The witness said: “We invited the second and third defendant for questioning (and) in the course of our interaction with them, they told us that, the ex-naval chief – Jibrin – told them to do so.
“We then wrote to Petrus Ogu Nigeria Limited where the money was deposited. Mr. Peter Ogu, who was the signatory to the account at Diamond Bank said that, the money in the account was used by the first defendant to purchase the property at No.7, Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja.”
The prosecuting counsel produced supporting documents including power of attorney, statement of account and proof of evidence which were admitted as exhibits A1, A2 and A3.
Ala explained further how investigation was conducted on Habour Bay International Limited, a company he said was linked to Jibrin.
He said that “Habour Bay International Limited has Mrs. Lami Jibrin (wife of the first defendant) as the director and his (Jibrin) son, a top member of company,” and the same company was used “to purchase of the property at No.7, Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja.”
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Ala maintained that the ex-Naval Chief ordered the transfer of N600million to Petrus Ogu account which he used to purchase the alleged property at No.7 Colorado close Maitama, Abuja.
The case was adjourned to December 6 for continuation of trial.