Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Court clears ex-Chief of Air Staff, Umar, of ‘fraud’

A former Chief of Air Staff, Mohammed Umar, who was found “guilty of diverting N66 million from the account of the Nigerian Air Force” has been discharged and acquitted by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The retired Air chief marshal battled one count of money laundering involving N66 million allegedly cornered from the account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) during his time as the Chief of Air staff between 2010 and 2012.

Delivering judgement, the judge held that there was nothing in the evidence of the prosecution linking Mr Umar to instructing the transfer of the said funds for the renovation of his private property in Abuja.

Mr Dimgba said it would be dangerous to speculate on a wild assumption that Mr Umar must be aware of every financial transaction from the Nigeria Air Force bank account.

Ruling on the propriety of the evidence led by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in February 2021, the judge dismissed six out of the seven charges initially lodged against Mr Umar by the anti-graft agency.

However, the judge ordered the former Air chief to refund the sum of N57 million to the Nigeria Air Force within seven working days.

The said funds was the actual amount used in refurbishing Mr Umar’s private property at Asokoro area of Abuja.



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