A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar (retd.) has temporarily forfeited five properties to the Federal Government, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.
According to court documents sighted by our correspondent, the properties include four mansions and a castle with a mosque
The suspect also forfeited a six-bedroomed duplex with ‘boys’ quarters’ and a two-bedroomed guest chalet located at 14 Audu Bako Way, Nasarawa GRA, Kano State.
Acting on an affidavit in support of the motion sworn to by Hammadama Bello and Sylvanus Tahir for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Justice J.T Tsoho ordered an interim forfeiture of the assets and the stoppage of any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the assets or properties.
The judge also authorised the chairman of the EFCC to appoint competent persons or firms to manage the assets and the proceeds realised from them to be lodged in an interest-yielding account pending the conclusion of Umar’s trial.
The judge, however, ordered that the EFCC shall file an undertaking to compensate Umar if it turns out that the forfeiture order ought not to have been granted.
Umar, who is currently standing trial before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court in Maitama, is accused of diverting N9.7bn from the account of the Nigerian Air Force.
The former air chief, who served between September 2010 and 2012, was accused of diverting about N558m from the Air Force account monthly.
At the last hearing on February 13, 2017, an EFCC witness, Air Commodore S. A. Yusahau (retd.), who is a former Director of Finance and Accounts, narrated how Umar used NAF funds to acquire the properties.
He said, “I receive all money of the Nigerian Air Force and disburse it as authorised by the defendant. The Nigerian Air Force received its funds to the tune of N4bn monthly.
“Of the N4bn, the actual figure used in paying staff salary was between N2.3bn and N2.4bn. Out of the remaining N1.6bn, N558.2m was usually set aside for upkeep of the defendant (Umar), while N120m was for the office of the DFA (Director of Finance and Accounts).”
He alleged that the N558.2m that was set aside for the upkeep of the Chief of Air Staff’s office was always converted to its dollar equivalent and taken to Umar in his house.