The trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Mohammed Dikko Umar, a retired air marshal, resumed on Monday at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said.

Prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, cross-examined the defendant, Mr Umar, at the resumed hearing.

Mr Tahir asked Mr Dikko to tell the court how long he served the Nigerian Air Force and any other thing he did, apart from working with the Nigerian Air Force.

The defendant told the court that he served for 36 years with the Nigerian Air force, and also owned three farms in Kaduna and Abuja.

According to him, the Abuja farm is 17 hectares of land and the other two in Kaduna are four hectares and 200 hectares respectively.

He said he took over as Chief of Air Staff on 8 September , 2010 and retired on 1 October , 2012.

The trial judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, thereafter adjourned the matter till Thursday, 30 September , for continuation of trial.

Mr Dikko was first arraigned on 25 January , 2017 on a seven-count charge of money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of N4.8billion.

But with the judge dismissing six out of the seven counts in a ruling on Mr Umar’s no-case submission in February, only one count is left for him to defend.

The EFCC in the original seven-count charge had accused him of diverting over N4.8 billion from the Nigerian Air Force’s account ”within 24 months” and using the funds to buy personal property in choice areas.

The trial judge, Mr Dimgba, in his ruling on the no-case submission, dismissed six of the counts and ordered him to open his defence in respect of the one remaining count.

Mr Dimgba, said, in the 23 February ruling, he found merit in the no-case submission the defendant filed in relation to counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the charge.

He,however, ordered the defendant to open his defence in relation to the count 7.

“I hereby direct the defendant to open his defence in relation to this count” Mr Dimgba held.

Alleged N66million diversion

The judge ruled that Mr Umar had a case to answer concerning the transfer of N66 million from the official bank accounts of the Nigerian Air Force in Stanbic IBTC to the bank account of a solicitor (who testified as the second prosecution witness).

The solicitor was said to have been engaged by the first prosecution witness on Mr Umar’s behalf as alleged in Count 7.

He noted that from the evidence led, the money was used for the “renovations/improvement of the property in Asokoro which is the subject of count 3.”

He noted that from the evidence led, the money was used for the “renovations/improvement of the property in Asokoro which is the subject of count 3.”

He added that the prosecution’s evidence also showed that the property at Asokoro had been purchased by the defendant, through the PW1 and for his own personal use.

“There was no evidence or suggestion that the property was an official property or that it belonged to the NAF or was being purchased for the NAF,” the judge added.

He also said: “The circumstances surrounding this transfer of funds raises questions bordering on breach of trust and abuse of office.

“An explanation is needed in the context of a defence.”

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