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Appeal Court Sets Aside Acquittal of Ex-Air Chief Umar

Emmanuella Obaje-Daniels  
Updated August 5, 2022
A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja which discharged and acquitted a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar, of a money laundering charge to the tune of N66 million.

In a unanimous judgment, the three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Elfrieda Williams–Dawodu, upturned the judgment of the Federal High Court and ordered that the defendant continue with his defence on counts 1,2,3,5 and 6

The former Air Chief was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on one count bordering on money laundering allegedly stolen from the account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) during his tenure between 2010 and 2012, to the tune of sixty- six million Naira.

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In his Judgement, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court ruled that the prosecution failed to provide any evidence that Umar gave the instruction for the transfer of the said funds for the renovation of his private property in Abuja.

He had dismissed six out of the seven charges filed against Umar by the EFCC following a no-case submission.

In his view, it would be dangerous to speculate that Umar must be aware of every financial transaction from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force.

Dissatisfied with Umar’s acquittal, the EFCC appealed the judgment, asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.