The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the Federal High Court in Abuja that Rear Admiral Tahir Yusuf Biu, a former Naval chief who is accused of stealing N1.3 billion from the Nigerian Navy, is on the run and can’t be found.
The agency that fights corruption said that no one has been able to find out where Admiral Biu is since March 16, when a 9-count criminal charge was filed against him.
Mr. Cosmas Obeta Ugwu, the lawyer for the EFCC, was sad that the defendant could not be found. Since he could not be found, he could not be brought to court to answer the criminal charges against him.
On November 30, 2015, in Abuja, it was said that Rear Admiral Biu took possession of N100 million that had been transferred from the Naval Headquarters account at Zenith Bank into his Bitmas Enterprises personal company bank account with the number 1011904172. This was against Section 15 (2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
On March 14, 2012, N135.4 million was transferred from the Defense Intelligence Agency personnel account to Biu’s Bitmas Enterprises account 1001439871, according to the charge sheet. Another N197.8 million was also transferred in the same way into Biu’s Bitmas account.
EFCC also accused him of illegally sending N148 million from the Defense Intelligence Agency to his company’s account at Zenith Bank and N334 million to the same company’s account in the same way.
Also, it was said that Admiral Biu took another N152 million and had another N20 million from the Defense Intelligence Agency put into the company account.
The anti-corruption agency also said that the former Naval Chief moved $300,000 from a Navy account that was supposed to be used to buy furniture for the Navy Secondary School at Okura to a company account at Zenith Bank before he ran away to a place nobody knows.
When the matter came up, Ugwu said that he couldn’t find the defendant to arrest him and bring him to court, but Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo didn’t agree with the anti-corruption agency.
Justice Ekwo said that the agency was wasting state power. He also said that several laws give EFCC a lot of power to find people who are hiding and bring them to justice, if necessary.
So, the judge said he would throw out the criminal charges if the agency came back to court with the same story at the next date set for the case.
He then set February 22, 2023, as the last time the EFCC could bring the defendant to court or get the charge dropped.