… Gets remand order to keep Fani-Kayode
By Iheanacho Nwosu and James Ojo
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will, today, arraign former Chief of Air Staff, Mohammed Umar before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The court is presided over by Justice Binta Murtala Nyako.
Umar’s arraignment, which is in connection with allegation of corruption in arms procurement, is coming a day after the anti-graft body got the nod of the court to remand former minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, in its custody until it concludes investigation on him.
Fani-Kayode is currently detained by EFCC for allegedly collecting N840 million campaign funds during the 2015 general election. The money was said to be part of the $115 million shared by former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke to key politicians ahead of the election. A source at the EFCC disclosed that Umar, who is being tried for his alleged role in the ongoing probe of defence spending during the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan will be arraigned between 10:00am and 12 noon today.
However, Umar had said no money belonging to the Force was missing under his watch. Umar’s aide, who pleaded for anonymity, said the money in question was not missing as there were records of what was done with them.
The aide said: “This was what Air Marshal Umar used to execute the laudable projects for which he is known in the Nigerian Air Force. They were used to reactivate and maintain aircrafts for which no funds are released from the normal budgets.
“They were used for training programs, including pilot training which reached a height under his watch. Remember that it was in the process that the Nigerian Air Force got the first female combat pilot. Part of the said fund was used for payment of estacode allowances of officers who were on training, renovation and building of offices and residential accommodation for officers and men…” he claimed.
Recall that former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu, has also been in EFCC net over alleged financial misconduct in purchase of arms equipment.
A panel investigating arms procurement during the last administration had, in the interim reports it submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleged that equipment procurement under Amosun lacked integrity.
The panel said: “The procurement processes were arbitrarily carried out and generally characterized by irregularities and fraud”.
It further said in many cases, the procured items failed to meet the purposes they were procured for, especially the counter insurgency efforts in the North East”.