Friday, August 19, 2022
MARKET UPDATE
Advertisement

TheCable

Refund N57m to FG or forfeit Abuja mansion, court orders retired chief of air staff

Refund N57m to FG or forfeit Abuja mansion, court orders retired chief of air staff
March 18
13:30 2022

A federal high court in Abuja has ordered Mohammed Umar Dikko, retired chief of air staff, to refund  N57 million to the federal government within seven days.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Umar in May 2016 alleging that he was involved in money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of about N9.7 billion, while he was in office between 2010 and 2012.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/92/2016, the commission among other things accused him of withdrawing N700 million from NAF account, and used the money to purchase a choice property at a highbrow area within the Maitama District of Abuja.

He was also alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn N500 million from the said NAF account to buy a four-bedroom duplex at Road 3B, Street 2, at Mabushi, Ministers Hill, Abuja.

Advertisement

The EFCC said the defendant also took N250 million from NAF’s coffers to buy a property at No. 14, Audu Bako Way, GRA, Kano state in 2011.

Nnamdi Dimgba, the judge, in February 2021 quashed six out of the seven-count charge after the defendant filed a no-case submission.

Dimgba held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case that would warrant the accused person to open his defence with respect to counts one to six.

Advertisement

He, however, ordered the defendant to open his defence on the seventh count.

Delivering judgment in respect to the last count on Thursday, the judge held that though the EFCC had alleged N66 million in the charge, the available evidence showed that what was actually transferred out of the account was N57 million.

He also held that the EFCC failed to establish that it was Dikko that gave the directive for the fund to be withdrawn for the renovation of the property.

However, Dimgba said though the evidence of the EFCC is not strong enough to convict the retired air chief, he should not be allowed to benefit from the funds belonging NAF.

Advertisement

“I am satisfied that the said sum of N57 million was not payment for any value received by the NAF from the defendant nor did it fall within the lawful expenditures of the force,” he held.

“Should the court be blinded while the defendant enjoys the benefit of a public resource which are not due to him?  Certainly not.

“The court must invoke its special powers and take such measures as the justice of the case dictates.

“Therefore, pursuant to Section 333(1) of the ACJA 2015, and the inherent powers of the Court to be exercised as the justice of the case demands, I am of the view that notwithstanding his discharge and acquittal for the reasons amply explained in the body of this judgment, the Defendant shall not be allowed to keep the benefit of the N57Million funds of the NAF actually used by the prosecution’s own witnesses (PW1, PW2 and PW6) at the time when the Defendant was the Chief of Air Staff to renovate/improve his personal property.

Advertisement

“Allowing him to retain this benefit will violate good conscience and in violation of the equitable principles of the law of restitution, and which abhors unjust enrichment.”

“The defendant shall file a report of compliance with the above order with the registry of this court and serve a copy of same on the EFCC within 10 working days from today,” Dimgba held.

Advertisement

“In the event of failure by the defendant to comply with the above orders of the court, the defendant’s property known as House No. 1853 Deng Xiao Ping Street, Off Mahathir Mohammed Street, Asokoro Extension Abuja shall stand permanently forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria as a tainted asset.”

Advertisement

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment