The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, admitted over one million US dollars and other currencies as exhibits against Retd Commodore Umar Mohammed and his company, Easy Jet Integrated Service Ltd.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, which is prosecuting the case, charged Mohammed for alleged money laundering, unlawful possession of firearms, among other things.
The monies presented before trial judge Inyang Ekwo were in three bags and they
were confirmed by the prosecution witness, Stephen Olatubosun, (of Department of State Security Service)AGF’s counsel, M.S. Labaran and defense counsel, Hassan Liman SAN.
The court has earlier ordered that the monies (which were in different currencies) be counted within the court and in the presence of the counsels.
The breakdown of the currencies as sent to THE WHISTLER by Labaran reads:
Bag A $529,400
Bag B $499,800
Bag C N1,200,000 (1000)
50 Barbados dollar
70 Barbados Dollar (10 BD)
5 Carribbean Dollar
7 Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (1TandT Dollar)
5 TandT Dollar
60 TandT Dollar (20TandT Dollars).”
In his ruling, presiding judge, Ekwo admitted the cash as exhibit while ordering that the money be kept at the Central Bank of Nigeria pending determination of the trial.
“The Chief Registrar is hereby ordered to safe keep the exhibits with the Central Bank of Nigeria until further order from this court,” he said.
But during cross examination, Liman queried the witness that he did not visit the house of the defendant or take his statement.
Olatubosun said he didn’t, but added that “based on the report in the case file of the officer that went for the assignment, the source of the currency are from the defendant”.
He also said that he was aware that the rtd Air commodore was a business man.
When the cross examination was concluded, Liman told the judge to give him time to file a no case submission as he has no case to answer in the matter.
“On the part of the Defendant, we wish to apply for a date to file our no case submission,” he said.
Subsequently, Ekwo closed the case of the prosecution and granted the defendant’s prayers.
“The application is hereby granted.. defendant is granted 21 days to file their process and no case submission.
“The prosecution is given 7 days to file their defense.
“The written address of both parties shall not be more than ten pages.
“Case adjourned to 27 April for adoption of processes and final written addresses.”
Part of the charge against the Retd Air Chief reads: “That you, Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (rtd), 54 years, male and Easy Jet Integrated Services Ltd on or about 19th June, 2016, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, received the sum of one million, thirty thousand American Dollars ($1,030,000) in cash from Worldwide Consortium PTY Ltd, as payment for freight services, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (b ) of the Money Laundering Act 2011 (as Amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Section of the Act.”