Court Adjourns Ex-Naval Chief Jibrin’s Trial To June 16 Over N600m Fraud
Justice A. S. Umar of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama has adjourned to Friday, June 16, 2017 to decide whether or not to admit two documents by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against a former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, who is facing prosecution for contravening Section 26 (1) (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act 2000.
Jibrin is facing trial alongside Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia, Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (all retired) and Harbor Bay International Limited on a 4-count charge of criminal conspiracy preferred against them by the EFCC.
The naval chiefs whilst in office allegedly bought a house worth N600million from the account of Naval Engineering Services without budgetary provision.
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 (Vice Admiral Jibrin) became the buyer.
At the sitting today, counsel to the EFCC, Faruk Abdallah, informed the court he had two pending applications seeking to tender documents in evidence.
“The first is the Appropriation Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2013 and 2014.
“The second application is the Appropriation Act of the National Assembly for 2013 and 2014 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This court is enjoined by the Evidence Act to take judicial notice of these documents”, Abadllah prayed.
Y.C Maikyau, SAN, counsel to Jibrin, objected, arguing that the documents which the prosecution sought to tender, are not printed or gazette in accordance to laws as to make them receivable in evidence.
Responding, Abdallah urged the court to discountenance the argument of the defence and admit the documents in evidence.
After listening to the submissions of counsels, Justice Umar adjourned for ruling.
Earlier, the judge had rejected documents from the Budget Office of the federation obtained by the EFCC, which the prosecution sought to tender.
It would be recalled that, at the last hearing (May 22, 2017), the prosecution witness, Idris Wakili, a staff of the Budget Office, presented a certified true copy of the budget of the Nigeria Navy for 2013 and 2014 but Maikyau objected its admissibility on the grounds that, “the same documents earlier tendered by the prosecution and rejected by the court for non-certification are being re-presented”.
Though, Abdallah argued frantically to the effect that, the issues were not the same and that the prosecution had listed a staff of the budget office as a witness in the proof of evidence, Justice Umar in his ruling today, held that, “the documents are the same” and marked it “rejected”.
Further hearing on the case has been adjourned to July 13 and 14, 2017