he Federal Government yesterday told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja how a former of Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Diko Umar, diverted about N4.8 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to purchase property for himself.
Diko, who was arraigned before the court, however pleaded not guilty when the seven-count charge bothering on diversion of funds slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was read to him.
In the charge, Diko was alleged to have, while being the Chief of Air Staff between September 2010 and 2012 converted the United State dollar equivalent of the aggregate sum of N4,864,630,000 removed from the account of NAF.
The offence was said to be contrary to Section 15(2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act. Diko was also alleged to have used the sum of N700,000,000 removed from NAF account to purchase a property at No 14, Vistula Close, off Panama Street, Maitama.
In addition, Diko was also accused of using another N860,000,000 re-moved from the account of NAF to buy a property at Plot No. 1853 Deng Xiao Ping Street, off Mahathir Mohammed Street, Asokoro Extension, Abuja.
Diko was also accused of taking N500,000,000 from the account of NAF to purchase for himself a four-bedroom duplex with boys’ quarters at Road 3b, Street 2, Mabushi Ministers Hill, Abuja. In count 5, Diko was accused of removing N250,000,000 from the account of NAF to buy himself a property at No 14, Audu Bako way GRA, Kano.
In count 6, Diko was charged with removing N160,000,000 from the account of NAF to purchase and renovate a property at No 8, Kabala Road, Unguwan Rimi, GRA, Kaduna. Diko was, in count 7, accused of transferring the sum of N66,000,000 into the Stanbic IBTC Account No: 9202077424 belonging to Capital Law Office from NAF operations account domiciled at UBA Plc for the renovation/improvement of House No. 1853, Deng Xiao Ping Street, off Mahathir Mohammed street, Asokoro extension.
The offences were said to be contrary to Section 15(2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act. The Federal Government listed about 21 wit nesses to testify in the case.
Defence counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), however, prayed the court to admit Diko to bail on selfrecognition. However, prosecuting counsel, Sylvanu Tahir, prayed the court for a trial date and asked that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending the commencement of his trial. Delivering ruling, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako admitted the defendant to bail on self-recognition.