N9.7bn fraud: Alleged Money Laundering, choice properties bought with estacode, farming, says Ex-NAF chief, Dikko

The EFCC accuses Air Marshal Umar Dikko, of money laundering involving an alleged diversion of N4.8 billion from the bank accounts of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), and using the fund to buy personal properties.

The trial resumed on Wednesday, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, with the continuation of the cross-examination of the defendant by the prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir.

Dikko told the court that he bought properties worth N4.7bn through estacodes earned from training and flying many African Presidents.

The ex-air chief was first arraigned on January 25, 2017 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on a seven-count charge of money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of N9.7bn but six of the counts were dismissed following a no-case submission.

“For 36 years of my service, my lord, I served in the Presidential Fleet for 17 years. Most of the flights I took were external trips outside Nigeria, and I went for many training trips outside the country,” he said.

Dikko further disclosed that he flew all African Presidents during his years in service, except the Presidents of Cote D’Ivoire and Togo.

Mr Dikko faces one charge of money laundering, as six of the seven counts originally instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were earlier dismissed by the court in a ruling in February.

The EFCC had originally filed seven counts of money laundering against Mr Dikko, who was Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff between September 2010 and October 2012. It accused him in the seven charges of diverting N4.8 billion from NAF’s accounts and using the fund to buy personal properties in choice areas of Abuja and other places.

The trial judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, dismissed six of the counts in February, on the grounds that the evidence given by the EFCC could not sustain the charges.

The remaining charge now has to do with alleged diversion of N66million from the NAF’s bank account.

“I have earned a lot of estacodes, lots of foreign trips and two farms in Abuja with about 17 hectares of land and the other two in Kaduna are four hectares and 200 hectares respectively. I have been a farmer throughout my life”, he further claimed.

Asked why he did not provide the court with documents to back up his claims about the estacodes, he said nobody asked him to do so.

Dikko told the court that the Nigerian Air Force “has its own way of operation,” adding that the service had no e-payment system during his time.

A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, titled, ‘Ex-air chief, Dikko, tells court how he acquired properties worth N4.7bn,’ said documented evidence before the court shows that while Dikko was in office, he received his salary through the bank.

Justice Dimgba adjourned the matter till March 1, 2022, for adoption of final addresses.

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