By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that a former Navy Chief, Rear Admiral Tahir Yusuf Biu, who allegedly stole N1.3b from the Nigerian Navy is on the run and cannot be reached.
The anti-graft agency said that all efforts to locate the whereabouts of Admiral Biu in all parts of the country have proved unsuccessful since March 16 this year when a 9-count criminal charge was filed against him.
EFCC’S counsel, Mr Cosmas Obeta Ugwu, lamented that the defendant could not be found, 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 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 Intellence Agency personnel account while another N197.8m was also transferred in the same manner into Bitmas account.
EFCC also charged him with unlawfully transferring of N148m from Defence Intellence Agency to his company account at Zenith bank and N334m 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 Defence Intellence Agency transferred into the company account.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that the former Navy general diverted $300, 000 from a Navy account meant for purchase of furniture for Navy Secondary School at Okura to his personal company account domiciled at Zenith bank before he escaped to an unknown destination.
When the matter came up, EFCC’S 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 Ekwo held that the agency was wasting state powers adding that several statutes give enormous powers to EFCC to fish out anybody from hideout for justice where necessary.
The Judge, therefore, threatened to strike out the criminal charges if, at the next adjourned date, the agency approaches the court with the same story.
He subsequently fixed February 22, 2023 as the last adjournment for EFCC to produce the defendant in court or have the charge struck out.