Alleged N1.3bn scam: Ex-naval chief absconds, abandons trial

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A former Naval Chief, Rear Admiral Tahir Biu, who allegedly stole N1.3bn from the Nigerian Navy, went on the run and cannot be reached, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday.

The anti-graft agency said all efforts to locate the whereabouts of Admiral Biu in all parts of the country had proved unsuccessful since March 16 when a nine-count criminal charge was filed against him.

The counsel for EFCC, Cosmas Ugwu, lamented that the whereabouts of the defendant could not be ascertained, hence, he could not be brought before the court to answer the criminal charges against him.

Rear Admiral Biu was said to have on November 30, 2015, in Abuja, took possession of N100m transferred into his Bitmas Enterprises personal company bank account with number 1011904172 at Zenith Bank from the Naval Headquarters account domiciled at Zenith Bank contrary to section 15 (2) of Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

The charge sheet revealed that on March 14, 2012, Biu allegedly took possession of N135.4m into his Bitmas Enterprises account 1001439871 transferred from Defence Intelligence Agency personnel account while another N197.8m was also transferred in the same manner into Bitmas account.

The EFCC also charged him with unlawful transferring of N148 million from Defence Intellence Agency to his company account at Zenith bank and N334 million into the same company’s account in the same manner.

Besides, Admiral Biu was alleged to have taken possession of another N152m and another N20m from DIA transferred into the company account.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that the former Naval Chief diverted $300,000 from Navy personal account meant for the purchase of furniture for Navy Secondary School at Okura to his personal company account domiciled at Zenith bank before he escaped to unknown destination.

When the matter came up, the EFCC lawyer painted a gloomy picture of being helpless in locating the defendant for arrest and arraignment in court but Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo disagreed with the anti-graft agency on the issue.

Justice Inyang Ekwo threatened to strike out the criminal charges if at the next adjourned date the agency approached the court with the same story.

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