Thursday, October 20

N22.8bn fraud: Ex-Air Force chief, Amosu, others abandons plea bargain

N22.8bn fraud: Ex-Air Force chief, Amosu, others abandons plea bargain

Immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday opened its case against a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and 10 others, who are being tried for an alleged fraud of N22.8bn.

The defendants, who were arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos on June 29, 2016, had on July 8, 2016, indicated their intention to enter into a plea bargain with the EFCC.

They had then sought an adjournment to enable them to perfect their bail terms and smoothen their talks with the anti-graft agency.

But at the resumed proceedings in the case on Thursday, the prosecutor opened its case and called its first witness, apparently due to breakdown of plea bargain talks between the parties.
Standing trial alongside Amosu are two other officers of the Nigerian Air Force – Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga.

The trio are being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside eight companies, namely: Delfina Oil and Gas Limited, Mcallan Oil and Gas Limited, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited, Trapezites BDC, and Fonds and Pricey Limited.

Among other things, the EFCC accused them of conspiring among themselves on March 5, 2014 to convert N21.5bn belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their personal use.

The alleged act, the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said is a violation of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

But the accused had pleaded guilty to the 26 counts pressed against them.

Amosu, Adigun and Olugbenga were subsequently admitted to bail by Justice Mohammed Idris in the sum of N500m each with two sureties in like sum.

The EFCC’s first witness, Mojeed Olatunji, a Compliance Officer with Skye Bank Plc, on Thursday told the court that the Nigerian Air Force had an account numbered 1750013097 with Skye Bank, which had as its signatories as of January 28, 2014, Air Comdr J.B. Adigun, Air Comdr O.O. Gbadebo and Group Captain B.O.G. Ifeobu.

He told the court that the trio of Adigun, Gbadebo and Ifeobu were the ones who had the mandate on the account and on whose instruction monies were withdrawn from the account.

Armed with the statement of the said NAF’s account with Skye Bank, Olatunji took the court through a number of inflow and outflow of cash transactions carried out on the account.

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