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The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Tuesday, discharged and acquitted the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar Dikko, on six out of the seven-count money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by trial Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, said it found merit in a No-Case Submission the Defendant filed in relation to counts respect of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the charge against him.
Justice Dimgba held that a holistic review of the totality of evidence before the court showed that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case that would warrant the Defendant to be called upon to enter his defence to the six counts. He held that allegations in the counts were based on speculation, suspicion and assumptions.
However, the court held that the former COAS has a case to answer with respect to count seven of the charge which bordered on allegation that he transferred the sum N66million from the official bank account of the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, in Stanbic IBTC bank, into the account of his lawyer, and used same to renovate his property in Asokoro, Abuja.
Dikko, who piloted the affairs of the Nigerian Air, NAF, between September 2010 and October 2012, was arraigned before the court on January 25, 2017.
EFCC had in the charge, accused him of complicity in money laundering and procurement fraud, to the tune of about N9.7 billion.
The anti-graft agency, among other things, alleged that the Defendant, while in office as the Air Force Chief, withdrew N700m from the NAF account, and used same to purchase a choice property at a highbrow area within the Maitama District of Abuja.
He was further alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn N500m from the said NAF account to buy a four-bedroom duplex at Road 3B, Street 2, in Mabushi Ministers Hill, Abuja.
Besides, EFCC, told the court that the defendant also took N250m from the NAF’s coffers to buy a property at No. 14, Audu Bako Way, GRA, Kano State in 2011.
The Prosecution closed its case on September 29, 2020, after it called a total of 12 witnesses and tendered 19 documentary evidence before the court.
Thereafter, the Defendant who earlier pleaded not guilty to the charge, opted to make a No Case Submission in line with Section 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.