Paul Obi in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibrahim Jubrin (rtd), were on Monday involved in a war of words over an alleged N600 million fraud.
The former naval chief had in a strongly worded letter to the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, sort to know why his properties were raided by the anti-graft agency for up to eight different times without any search warrant.
The letter added that unknown elements were observed loitering around the premises of the former naval chief states clearly that his life is at stake, his dignity and also his integrity are also at stake.
Jibrin also claimed that the EFCC has been hijacked by a cabal, many of which are out on a vendetta mission especially considering the fact that the navy during his watched had made life unbearable and difficult for them as it put a stop to efforts aimed at sabotaging the nationâ€™s economy through illegal oil bunkeringHe questioned the anti-graft agency to explain the location of over 60 vessels arrested during his watch which were handed over to the agency but none of those arrested have been prosecuted till date with the wheareabouts of the suspects unknown.
Jubrin said: â€œI regret to state that my life has been under threat by operatives of the EFCC since my retirement from active service of the Nigerian Navy on the 14 July 2015.
But in response, EFCC Head of Media and Information, Wilson Uwujaren, urged Jubrin to face his trial squarely.
He said: â€œYou mean Vice Admiral Jubrin? He is an accused person in a case of N600million Fraud being prosecuted by the commission. â€œHe should face his trial and not dissipate energy chasing shadows.
â€œEFCC has no reason to plant anything in anybodyâ€™s house least of all an accused person already facing trial for fraud.â€
Uwujaren stated: â€œIf Jubrin believes ships are missing he, as former naval chief, is the one that owes Nigerians explanation.â€
Meanwhile, Peter Oguebie, Managing Director, Petrus Ogu Nigeria Limited, who is also a witness in the trial of Jibrin, yesterday, told Justice A. S. Umar of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja that his company sold a property worth N600million to the former naval chief through a family company, Harbor Bay International Limited.
Jibrin is facing trial alongside Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia, Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu, all retired, and Habor Bay International Limited on a four-count charge of criminal conspiracy preferred against them by the EFCC.
It was also alleged that, the documentation for transfer of ownership of the property was done such that a private company owned by the family of the first defendant (Jibrin) became the buyer. The offence is in contravention of Section 26 (1) (b) and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act 2000.
At the resumed trial today, Oguebie, who was led in evidence by counsel to EFCC Faruk Abdallah, as PW3, stated that, â€œpayment for the property located at Plot No. 2717 Cadastral A06, Maitama, Abjua was made into our company account, Petrus Ogu Nigeria Limited, domiciled at Diamond bank, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja by Naval Engineering Services.â€
Justice Umar had earlier admitted in evidence, the power of attorney, sales agreement and deed of assignment as exhibits 1a, 1b and 1c, respectively.
Also testifying, Abdulkadir Idris Wakili, a staff with the budget office of the federation, who had earlier been subpoenaed with respect to the certification of budget of the Nigeria Navy said, â€œI was in court to present the certified true copy of the budget of the Nigerian Navy for 2013 and 2014.â€
The prosecution sought to tender the documents in evidence, but Jibrinâ€™s counsel, Y. C. Maikyau (SAN), objected on the grounds that, â€œthe same documents earlier tendered by the prosecution and rejected by the court for non-certification are being re-presented again.â€
Responding, Abdallah urged the court to discountenance Maikyauâ€™s submission saying, â€œthe issues are not the same.â€
According to him: â€œThere are two sets of documents: one is from the Navy forwarding their budget estimate, whereas, my Lord, the document sought to be tendered is a document approved by the National Assembly.â€