A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Adesola Amosu, has again told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that he is willing to resume discussions with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), with a view to achieving a swifter end in the alleged N21.4 billion fraud case made against him.
This is not the first time the parties had explored settling out of court but the talks had broken down in the past, leading to the commencement of trial against the defendants.
Amosu is being tried on 13 counts before the court alongside two other former officers of the Nigerian Air Force – a former Chief of Account and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga, a former Director of Finance and Budgeting.
The trio were alleged to have conspired to convert the funds belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their personal use, sometime in 2014.
At Tuesday’s proceedings, counsel to the former air chief, Bolaji Ayorinde, told Justice Chukwujeku Aneke that his client and the other defendants had re-opened talks with the EFCC to achieve a swifter end to the proceedings which started in 2016.
He said, “I had a discussion with the prosecution on behalf of my learned silks and intimated him that this matter is one in which on our part we are trying to look for a swifter end to the proceedings.
“It started in 2016 and could go on and on. We have not even opened our defence. We have tried in the past but we want to try again and so there may be no need to further dissipate energy this afternoon,” the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said.
The EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, who was present in court, admitted that talks had indeed resumed.
In his ruling, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke acknowledged that this was provided for and allowed under the laws.
He, therefore, asked the parties to confer and let the court know when they would be willing to come back to give an update.
After conferring, parties agreed to come back to the court on May 23 at noon.
In the first count, the EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired to covert a total of N21.4 billion, property of the Nigerian Air Force which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of a criminal breach of trust.
The prosecution said they committed the offences on March 5, 2014.
It added that the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.
The three defendants had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.