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Court tenders $1.3m as evidence in trial of Air Force chief, Umar Mohammed

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday admitted into evidence, the sum of $1.3m cash recovered from a member of the Jon Ode led Presidential Investigative Committee on Arms Procurement and Equipment in the Armed Forces, Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (rtd).

The arm probe panel was constituted by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in 2015 but was later unceremoniously disbanded over the activities of some of the members.

Apart from AVM JON Ode (rtd.) who was the chairman, other members of the disbanded arms probe panel included R/Adm J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.), R/Adm E. Ogbor (rtd.), Brig Gen L. Adekagun (rtd.), Brig Gen M. Aminu-Kano (rtd.), Brig Gen N. Rimtip (rtd.), Cdre T.D. Ikoli, Air Cdre U. Mohammed (rtd.), Air Cdre I. Shafi’i, Col A.A. Ariyibi, Gp Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.) and Ibrahim Magu (EFCC). Brig Gen Y.I. Shalangwa was the secretary.

Mohammed is being prosecuted alongside his firm, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited for receiving $1.3 million cash from one worldwide consortium PTY Ltd in 2016, through his company Easy Jet Airlines, in violation of the money laundering act 2011 as well as for the illegal possession of firearms and unlawful possession of official documents in violation of the Official Secret Act.

The Department of State Service (DSS) had arrested Umar in June 2016 for allegedly fronting for other members of the Presidential Arms Panel in receiving large sums of money from certain individuals and companies in order to evade prosecution.

At the resumed trial of Mohammed, the prosecution counsel, Mr Labaran Magaji tendered the cash as exhibit along with various other currencies before the presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, with an explanation that they were recovered from the defendant’s possession.

The defence counsel, Dr Hassan Liman SAN, thereafter cross-examined the prosecution witness Mr Stephen Olatubosun through whom the exhibit was tendered. The senior lawyer thereafter informed the court of his client’s intention to file a no-case submission on the ground that a prima facie case has not been established against him.

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo after listening to the parties in the matter ordered the Chief Registrar of the federal high court to deposit the foreign currency with the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, pending the conclusion of the trial.

The matter was subsequently adjourned to May 27, for the adoption of final addresses, by the parties in the no-case submission motion.

 

 

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