The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and two others, were not showing commitment to their proposed plea bargain.
The EFCC charged Amosu, alongside a former NAF Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo; and a former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, with an alleged fraud of N21.4bn.
The defendants, who have been standing trial since June 2016, had proposed to enter into a plea bargain with the EFCC.
The trial judge, Justice C.J. Aneke, had adjourned till Thursday for report of settlement.
But at the resumed proceedings on Thursday, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the parties had yet to settle, alleging that the defendants, through their lawyers, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) and Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), were not showing commitment to the proposed plea bargain.
“This matter was adjourned for report of plea bargaining. On receiving their written proposal, I made several calls to both Chief Ayorinde and Mr Quakers, urging them to come for an official meeting to discuss and agree. None of them visited our office.
“It appears to me that the defendants are not committed to the resolution of this matter in line with Section 70 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act,” the prosecutor told the judge.
But Ayorinde, who is Amosu’s lawyer, blamed the delay on the EFCC, saying the anti-graft agency did not extend a formal invitation to the defendants.
“It is true that we wrote a couple of letters to the prosecution. There was no reply to either of them (defendants). Their (EFCC) style is that they will never write in response to any request.
“We cannot force him (Oyedepo) to write if it is the style of their office not to write. We expected a formal invitation,” Ayorinde said.
On his part, Quakers said it was not true that the defence was not serious about the plea bargain proposal which they initiated.
“We sent letters which were duly acknowledged, but there has been no official communication. In fairness to Oyedepo, he has been doing his bit, but it is not right for an institution not to reply to a letter,” Quakers said.
Justice Aneke said in view of the development, coupled with the fact that Ayorinde said he was not feeling too well, he would further adjourn the matter to enable the parties to hold the plea bargain talks.
He adjourned until October 9.
Signup for FREE news updates, latest information and hottest gists everyday