Ex-Air Force Chief, Others Insist On Plea Bargain Over Alleged N22.8bn Fraud - EazyFeeds

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Wednesday 5 October 2016

Ex-Air Force Chief, Others Insist On Plea Bargain Over Alleged N22.8bn Fraud

Former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd) and 10 others being tried for an alleged N22.8 bil­lion fraud, have said they were still in plea bargain talks with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
One of the defence counsel, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), revealed this on Tuesday at the resumed proceedings in the case before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, La­gos.
Amosu is being tried along­side two other officers of the Air Force – Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga for the al­leged fraud.

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 are being tried for the offence.
The EFCC accused them of conspiring among themselves on March 5, 2014 to convert N21.5 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their personal use.
The act, according to the EF­CC’s prosecutor, Rotimi Oyede­po, violates Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibi­tion) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
Upon their arraignment on June 26, 2016, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which the Justice Idris admitted them to a bail of N500 million each with two sureties in like sum.
But on July 8, 2016, the de­fence counsel, comprising Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Quakers, Mr Kemi Balogun (SAN) and Mr A. Etuokwu, informed the court of their clients’ intention to enter plea bargain.
They sought an adjournment to perfect their bail condition and to smoothen their talks with the EFCC.
At the resumed proceedings on Tuesday, the EFCC lawyer, Oyedepo, told the court that he was ready to open his case against the defendants and had already brought two witnesses to court for trial to commence.
Oyedepo said the EFCC had discharged its obligation by serv­ing the proof of evidence on the defendants.
But responding, Ayorinde told the court that the matter was only adjourned till Tuesday for mention and that the case could not be heard.
He said the record of the court could bear him witness.
In his own submission, Quak­ers aligned himself with Ayor­inde, adding that the defendants 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, 2016 for trial.
Amosu and others were ar­raigned by the EFCC on 26 counts before Justice Idris.
The charges bordered on conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
The defendants were also ac­cused of indirectly converting a sum of N3.6 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to per­sonal use.
In another instance, the EFCC alleged that Amosun and the others stole N323,319,283.81 from the accounts of the Nigeri­an Air Force between March 21, 2014 and March 12, 2015 to ac­quire property situated at No.1, River Street, Wuse II, Abuja.

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