Court dismisses corruption charges against former Chief of Air Staff

Peter Bahago, Abuja

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has discharged and acquitted the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar of six of the seven counts of corruption and money laundering charges preferred against him.

It would recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, an anti-graft agency in the country, arraigned the former Airforce Boss on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba acquitted and discharged Umar on six of the seven counts while ruling on a no case submission filed by Mr. Umar.

Justice Dimgba acquitted Umar on the grounds that the prosecution was not able to link the defendant with removal of money from Nigeria Air Force account for the purchase of any of his houses in some parts of the country and the nation’s capital, Abuja.

He also said that there was no direct link between Umar and the vendors of the houses which he bought outside the period he was Chief of Air Staff.

The judge further said that the court, being a court of law and not of morals, could not rule on the morals of the monthly upkeep funds for the office of the Chief of Air Staff.

Justice Dimgba noted that the burden to show that the money for buying the houses came from illegal sources was on the prosecution, which it failed to discharge.

He held that there was no evidence that the defendant violated any of the provisions of the Money Laundering Act.

However, on count seven, Justice Dimgba refused the no case submission of the defendant’s counsels.

He held that the sum of N66 million was transferred from Airforce operations account for the renovation of Mr. Umar’s Asokoro house in Abuja.

He, therefore, ordered Umar to defend himself on the seventh count which borders on transfer of money from NAF account to a personal account for the renovation of the house in Asokoro, Abuja.

 

 

Dominica Nwabufo

 

 

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