The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday arraigned a former Chief of Naval Staff, Usman Jibrin, before a court in Abuja on corruption charges.
Mr. Jibrin, a retired vice admiral, was arraigned alongside two others: Bala Mshelia and Shehu Ahmadu, both retired rear admirals.
They were arraigned before Justice A. Umar of the FCT High Court in Maitama, Abuja on a 4-count charge of criminal conspiracy.
They were docked alongside Habour Bay International Limited.
The former senior naval officers are accused of buying a house worth N600 million from the account of Naval Engineering Services. The purchase was not captured in the budget.
Instead, the documentation of transfer of ownership of the property was done such that a private company owned by Mr. Jibrin’s family became the buyer.
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
In view of their plea, counsel to EFCC, Abdullah Faruk, asked the court for a date for commencement of trial.
However, Y. C. Maikyau, representing the first and fourth accused, through an oral application made pursuant to Section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, sought for the bail of his clients.
Mr. Maikyau told the court that the defendants had been enjoying administrative bail granted them by the EFCC and had never breached any of its terms.
The counsel said that though he had earlier filed and served the prosecution with a formal bail application, he felt the need to move an oral application subject to the discretion of the court.
Counsel representing second and third accused relied on the same arguments in seeking bail for their clients.
In response, Mr. Faruk told the court that, he was served the notice Tuesday morning and asked for time to enable him respond appropriately.
After listening to the submissions of counsel on both sides, the judge adjourned to Wednesday for bail application hearing.