Barristers & Solicitors
Return N57m to FG or forfeit Abuja mansion, court orders ex-Air chief

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, ordered a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko (retd.), to within seven days, refund N57m to the Federal Government.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in his judgment, held that the sum, which was used for the renovation of a personal property that belonged to the former Air Chief, should be returned back to the coffers of the Nigerian Air Force.

He noted that the N57m was transferred into a Stanbic IBTC Account No. 9202077424 belonging to Capital Law Office and used for the renovation/improvement of Dikko’s property situated at No. 1853 Deng Xiao Ping Street, Off Mahathir Mohammed Street, Asokoro Extension Abuja.

“The defendant shall file a report of compliance with the above order with the registry of this court and serve a copy of same on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission within 10 working days from today.

“In the event of failure by the defendant to comply with the above orders of the court, the defendant’s property known as House No. 1853 Deng Xiao Ping Street, Off Mahathir Mohammed Street, Asokoro Extension Abuja shall stand permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria as a tainted asset,” Justice Dimgba held.

Dikko, who was the Chief of Air Force between September 2010 and October 2012, was arraigned before the court on January 25, 2017.

The anti-graft agency, among other things, alleged that the defendant, while in officewithdrew N700m from the NAF account, and used same to purchase a choice property at a highbrow area within the Maitama District of Abuja.

He was further alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn N500m from the said NAF account to buy a four-bedroom duplex at Road 3B, Street 2, in Mabushi Ministers Hill, Abuja.

Meanwhile, in his judgement on Thursday, Justice Dimgba noted that whereas the EFCC had in the sole count of the charge pending before the court, alleged that N66m was removed from NAF account to renovate Dikko’s Abuja property, he said available evidence showed that what was transferred out of the account was N57m.

The court held that the EFCC failed to establish that it was Dikko that gave the directive for the fund to be withdrawn for the renovation of the property.

Culled from PUNCH.