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Missing document stalls ex-Naval Chief’s trial over N600m fraud

THE trial of former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, before Justice A.S Umar of the of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Maitama was, on Monday stalled because of the missing of a vital document in the proof of evidence.

Jibrin was arraigned alongside two others before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 4-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy.

Others arraigned alongside with him are Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia (rtd), Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (rtd), Habour Bay International Limited, a company alleged to have conspired with them to commit the alleged fraud.

The naval chiefs were alleged to have bought a house worth N600 million while still in office from the account of Naval Engineering Services without the said purchase contract being captured in the budget.

It was also alleged that the documentation for transfer of ownership of the property was done in such a way that a private company owned by the family of Vice Admiral Jibrin became the buyer.

The offence, according to the anti-graft agency violates Section 26 (1) (b) and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

At the resumed trial in the matter yesterday, counsel representing Jibrin, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), informed the court that a “very vital document was missing from the proof of evidence filed by the prosecution.”

He told the court that the missing document was a letter that accompanied the documents forwarded to the EFCC at its request by the naval headquarters and received by the commission on 08/01/2016.

The letter is said to have indicated that the property in which Jibrin is accused of purchasing from the account of Naval Engineering Services has been taken over by the Navy.

On his part, the Prosecution counsel, J.O. Uzor told the court that he was not aware of the existence of such letter.

After consulting with his colleagues, he however admitted that such letter was in existence and added that the said letter would be made available to the defendant today.

Earlier, the prosecution counsel informed the court that its first witness was in court and that the prosecution was ready to commence with the trial, subject to the directives of the court.

Justice Umar after listening to the submissions of counsel, directed the prosecution to furnish the 1st defendant with all the documents and adjourned till today for the commencement of trial.