I am Not on Trial for Fraud – AVM Atawodi

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The former Chairman, Presidential implementation  Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS), Air Vice- Marshal Saliu Atawodi (Rtd) has dismissed claims in some section of the media that he is currently on trial.

In a press release signed by his media consultant, Duro Meseko, Atawodi frowned at a recent report on the frontpage a national newspaper claiming that the retire General and others are on trial over N102b fraud.

“In the report, AVM Atawodi was listed amongst 12 other military generals currently undergoing various court trials in the country bothering on alleged multibillion Naira fraud. The report claimed that AVM Atawodi is still undergoing trial for alleged 600 Million Naira fraud.

“We hereby make haste to say that AVM Atawodi is not undergoing any trial for fraud as mischievously claimed . Had the New Telegraph done its home work well, it would have realized that the Appeal Court had on June 7, 2017 discharged and acquitted AVM Atawodi of any wrong doing in the alleged 600 Million Naira Fraud case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against him. The judgment of the court was lavishly used as news item by several national dailies, radio and television Stations.

“The question is: What does New Telegraph stand to gain with this false and malicious publication? Else, how can the photograph and name of a citizen that has been discharged and acquitted by a competent Court of law be prominently displaced on the front page of a National  Daily still being accused of standing trial for fraud!

“AVM Atawodi is an award-winning Officer who retired without a single query from the Armed forces. He served selflessly and honestly with his reputation very intact. We therefore make bold to say that the publication on AVM Atawodi is false, vexatious, malicious and libelous in its entirely.

“It is high time some sections of the Fourth Estate of the Realm put a stop to this mob mentality syndrome that is fast eating its integrity away,” he said.

Meanwhile Atawodi’s solicitors have been properly briefed and they are currently on top of the situation to seek relief from the Publishers of this fake news.

It will be recalled that the EFCC had arraigned Atawodi and one Rabiu Hassan of Hypertech Nigeria Ltd for allegedly defrauding the Federal Government the sum of N620 Million through suspicious contracts to procure K38 armoured patrol boats that were to be used to fight illegal oil bunkering on the Nation’s waters.

But in her judgement at the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on June 7, 2017, Justice Tani Hassan – Yusuf discharged and acquitted Atawodi while Rabiu Hassan would continue his trial at the lower Court. The judge declared that there was no single evidence linking AVM Atawodi with the alleged fraud and that he had no case to answer.

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