A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, was, yesterday, told that a former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu (retd), and 10 others being tried over alleged N22.8 billion fraud, were still in plea bargain talks with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, prosecuting them. Amosu is charged alongside two other officers of the Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga.
They were charged alongside some companies, namely: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, and Fonds and Pricey Ltd.
They were arraigned on June 26 and had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Justice Mohammed Idris had granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each with two sureties each in like sum. At the resumed proceedings, yesterday, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he was ready to open his case against the accused, adding that two witnesses were present in court. Oyedepo said EFCC had discharged its obligation by serving the proof of evidence on the accused.
But responding, counsel to the accused, Mr Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, told the court that the matter was only adjourned for mention and that the case could not be heard. He said the record of the court would bear him witness.
In his submission, another defence counsel, Mr Norrison Quakers, SAN, aligned himself with Ayorinde, adding that the accused were still in plea bargain talks with the EFCC. In a short ruling, Justice Idris said he found from the court’s record that the matter was adjourned for mention and not for trial. He consequently granted the prayer of the defence counsel for an adjournment. He adjourned till October 20, 21 and 24, for trial. Amosu and others were arraigned by the EFCC on 26 counts. The charges bordered on conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
In another count, the accused were said to have indirectly converted the sum of N3.6 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air force, to their own use. In another instance, the EFCC alleged that Amosun and the others stole over N323 million from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force between March 21, 2014 and March 12, 2015. He said the alleged theft was for the purpose of purchasing for themselves a property situated at No.1, River Street, Wuse II Abuja.
The alleged offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. It will be recalled that on July 8, the defence counsels had nformed the court of their clients’ intention to enter plea bargain. They had sought an adjournment to perfect their bail condition and to smoothen their talks with the EFCC.