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Anonymous buyer paid N85m for property linked to ex-NAF chief – Witness

Anonymous buyer paid N85m for property linked to ex-NAF chief – Witness

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Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

A guest house located on a large expanse of land in Kaduna, Kaduna State, formerly belonging to the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, was resold to an “anonymous buyer” in 2010, a retired Air Vice Marshal of the Nigerian Air Force, Sunday Leks, told the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday.

Leks, the third prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Chief Air Mohammed Umar, said he bought the guest house from a Federal Government’s implementation committee in June 2010 and resold it to the “anonymous buyer” for N85m in December 2010.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claims the anonymous buyer was the former Chief of Air Staff, Umar, whom the agency is prosecuting on money laundering charges involving the sum of N7.382bn.

Accusing Umar of criminal breach of trust and corruption, the EFCC alleged in the charges that the defendant diverted the money from NAF’s account while being the Chief of Air Staff from October 2010 to September 2012, and used it to buy properties in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.

In prosecuting the case, the agency had on February 13, 2017, called a former Director of Finance and Accounts at the headquarters of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Salisu Yishau (retd.), as its first witness who had narrated how he allegedly helped Umar to divert funds from NAF’s account.

Yishau also testified on how he played the middleman roles in helping the former Chief of Air Staff in using the diverted funds to acquire a number of properties including the guest house at 8, Kabala Road, Ugwanrimi, Kaduna, which Leks, the third prosecution witness, testified about on Thursday.

Leks, who retired as the Commandant of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna, in December 2010, told the court that Yishau, then a Group Captain, was the middleman between him and the “anonymous buyer” of the guest house.

He said in June 2010,  he got information that a similar guest house in Ikoyi, Lagos, which was also owned by the Armed Forces Command and Staff College had been sold by the Presidential Committee on the Implementation of the Alienation of the Federal Government’s Landed Property in 2004 and that the one he was occupying in Jaji, Kaduna, was also about to be sold by the committee.

Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, the witness said as the “tenant” then occupying the property in Kaduna, he bid for it, won it and paid for the property which he said “basically composed the main building and several boys’ quarters apartments on a large piece of land.”

But Leks said he chose to sell the property, when he retired in December 2010 and decided to relocate to Abuja.

The witness testified that Yishau was one of those he disclosed the intention to sell the property to.

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