Arms probe: Court grants defendant permission to travel abroad

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday granted permission to a former member of the presidential committee investigating the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces, Air-Commodore Umar Mohammed (retd.), to travel to South Africa for medical treatment.

Justice John Tsoho, ruling on Umar’s application, dismissed the Federal Government’s objection to the ex-air force chief’s request.

The judge said the National Hospital which issued the medical report tendered by the defendant to back his request “is supposed to be a reputable government-owned tertiary health institution” and “should command some level of credibility”.

He, therefore, dismissed the objection by the Federal Government which had claimed that the medical report, signed by a Senior Consultant, Clinical Oncology Unit of the National Hospital, Dr. Bello Mohmmed, was not “effective”.

The judge agreed with the defence counsel, Mr. Hassan Liman (SAN), to the effect that the defendant must be “physically and mentally fit to stand his trial to the end”.

Justice Tsoho ordered the court registry to release to the defendant his passport to enable him to travel to South Africa for medical treatment for two months.

He, however, ruled that the passport should only be released on the grounds that a N50m bond must be signed by the defendant and a written recommendation by the defendant’s counsel.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation had had in September 2016, arraigned Mohammed alongside a company, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited, on charges of money laundering, illegal possession of firearms and violation of Official Secret Act.

Mohammed and his company were said to have accepted $1,030,000 in cash from a firm, Worldwide Consortium PTY Ltd, “as payment for flight services” without going through a financial institution as required by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

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Source: Punch

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