Alleged Fraud: Appeal Court sets aside acquittal of ex-Air Chief, Umar
Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has vacated the Federal High Court judgement that discharged and acquitted a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar of money laundering charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him.
The anti-graft agency had alleged that the former Air Chief diverted public funds to the tune of about N66million.
The commission, in a one-count money laundering charge it entered before the high court, alleged that Umar stole the money from an account that was operated by the Nigerian Air Force.
It alleged that the Defendant committed the offence between 2010 and 2012, while he held sway as the Chief of Air Staff, adding that he used the stolen fund to renovate his property in Abuja.
The trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had ruled that the prosecution failed to provide any evidence that Umar gave instruction that led to the transfer of the said funds for the renovation of his private property in Abuja.
The trial judge held that it would be dangerous to speculate that the former Air Chief must be aware of every financial transaction from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force.
Consequently, following a no-case-submission that was made by the defendant, Justice Dimgba, dismissed six out of the seven-count charge against him.
Dissatisfied with Umar’s acquittal, the EFCC, through its counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, appealed the judgment, asking the appellate court to set it aside.
The Commission, in a statement that was signed by its Head, Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, on Thursday, disclosed that its appeal was upheld by the appellant court.
“In a unanimous judgment, a three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Elfrieda Oluwayemisi Williams–Dawodu upturned the judgment of the lower court and ordered that the defendant continue with his defence on count 1,2,3,5 and 6”, EFCC stated.