Alleged N21bn Fraud: Ex-Air Chief, Others Consider Settling With EFCC Again

Alleged N21bn Fraud: Ex-NAF Boss, Others Offer To Settle With EFCC
A file photo of Adesola Amosu (on white).

 

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.

READ ALSOCourt Orders Final Forfeiture Of N2.2bn Linked To Ex-Air Chief, Amosu

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.

Court Orders Forfeiture Of N2.2bn Linked To Ex-COAS, Adesola Amosu

EFCC, Amosun
File photo

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of N2.2billion recovered from a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun made the order after listening to an ex-parte application brought before her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The judge held that “An interim order is made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the total sum of N2,244,500,000 found and recovered by the commission from the first respondent (Amosu) which sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.”

The judge also granted an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of another N190,828,978.15 recovered from a former Nigeria Air Force Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo, and another N101 million recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to Amosu.

The EFCC told the judge that the various sums were “reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.”

Justice Olatoregun also directed the EFCC to publish the interim order in two national dailies so that the respondents or anyone interested in the sums can show cause why a final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.

The judge then adjourned the case until June 29, 2018.

The two respondents, Amosu and Adigun were said to have, between July 17 and September 16, 2014, allegedly removed over N663.4million from the Nigerian Air Force accounts to among other things purchase properties at 50-52 Tenterden Grove, London (NW4 1TH) and at 93B Shirehall Park, LondonNW4 2QU, United Kingdom.

They were also accused of buying 40A, Bourdillon, Ikoyi, with N900million, and another property worth N1.5bn at Sinari Daranijo street in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The EFCC also said they bought a property named Cappadol Mall at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II Abuja, for N750million, as well as a property worth over N1.7billion at Agobogba Street, Parkview, Ikoyi Lagos, using the airforce’s money.

Other properties they allegedly bought using Air Force’s funds include one at Salt Lake Street, Maitama, Abuja; one at Agadez Street off Aminu Kano Crescent, Abuja; 61A, Lake Chad Street, Maitama, Abuja; and one at 1, River Street, Wuse II Abuja.

Between March 6 and April 30, the respondents allegedly used N428,139,539.00 removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to renovate and purchase medical equipment for Solomon HealthCare Ltd situate at 24 Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja Lagos.

Alleged N22.8bn Fraud: Witness Testifies Against Amosu, Others

Alleged N22.8bn Fraud: Witness Testifies Against Amosu, Others
File photo: Adesola Amosu

 

An Investigator of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tosin Owobo, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that some of the funds allegedly diverted from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) were meant for the purchase of aviation fuel and for “operations” related to fighting the Boko Haram insurgency.

He revealed this on Tuesday while testifying in the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), and some others.

The others are a former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, and a former NAF Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.

The EFCC accused them of converting about N22.8bn from the Air Force through various companies, namely Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd, Timsegg Investment Ltd, and Solomon Health Care Ltd.

In his testimony during the continuation of their trial on Tuesday, the EFFC investigator said the funds were transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the NAF operation account with various descriptions, including “Operation Lafia Dole.”

He said a team of eight operatives from the anti-graft agency, including himself, investigated the sources of funds which flowed into NAF operation account.

Owobo disclosed that there were inflows of N1billion on January 17, 2013; N100million on May 15, 2013, and N18.6million on June 12, 2013, from the Ministry of Defence Headquarters.

Cross-examining the witness, counsel to the former Air Chief, Bolaji Ayorinde, asked, “While doing analysis during your investigations, did you discover what purpose the inflow was meant for?”

In his response, the witness said, “After we began our investigations, the NAF officers we had a discussion with told us that money paid into this account was for operational activities.”

Ayorinde further inquired, “Did you ask the Ministry of Defence why the N1billion was paid from the Ministry?” while Owobo responded that he cannot remember.

Asked if he knew what the N18.6 million was also meant for, the EFCC investigator said they did not inquire.

Owobo also claimed that another former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd), was among those interviewed during the investigation and that he made a statement.

Ayorinde then asked that Badeh’s statement, which was not frontloaded, be provided, stressing that he needed the statement for his client’s defence.

The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, then prayed that the matter be stood down for 20 minutes to enable him to get Badeh’s statement.

He also opposed Ayorinde’s application for an adjournment, saying it would further delay the case.

However, all the other lawyers on the defence team rejected the application for a stand-down, insisting it was better to adjourn the case.

In his ruling, Justice Mohammed Idris held, “Section 36 of the Constitution guarantees the right to fair hearing, which means that the rights and interests of parties to a dispute before the court should be protected.”

“Where a party to a criminal trial has applied for documents in the possession of the state to enable him to prepare adequately for his defence, the state has a duty to make available to that party, duly certified copies of the documents upon payment of the required legal fees.

“In the interest of justice, I think it is more convenient to adjourn in line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. I know that while justice delayed is justice denied, justice rushed is justice crushed. We shall adjourn in the interest of justice.”

The matter was consequently adjourned till May 15.

How We Recovered N2.4bn, $115,000 From Ex-Air Chief, Amosu – EFCC

How We Recovered N2.4bn, $115,000 From Ex-Air Chief, Amosu – EFCC
File photo: Adesola Amosu (man wearing a white cloth) 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC0 has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos how it recovered the sums of N2.4 billion and $115,000 allegedly diverted by the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd).

An EFCC investigative officer, Tosin Owobo, told Justice Mohammed Idris on Tuesday that Air Marshall Amosu returned the N2.4bn via bank drafts at the agency’s Lagos and Abuja offices.

Owobo added that his team also recovered the $115,000 in one of Amosu’s residences.

The Former Chief of Air Staff, Amosu is standing trial alongside a former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.

They were accused of diverting about N22billion allegedly belonging to the Nigerian Air Force, an offence to which they all pleaded not guilty.

The defendants subsequently explored a plea bargain arrangement with the anti-graft agency.

At the proceedings on March 27, Owobo also informed the court that apart from the money, other funds, cars and landed property were seized from the defendants.

“About N100m was recovered from the third defendant Air Commodore Gbadebo. Funds recovered through Air Marshall Amosu’s wife were also put at about N383 million,” the witness told the court.

He listed the recovered vehicles to include a bulletproof Lexus LX 570, a bulletproof Land Cruiser Sports Utility Vehicle and a Toyota Avalon car.

According to the EFCC investigator, various landed properties and buildings were also recovered from the second defendant.

After listening to the witness, Justice Idris adjourned the case till April 18.

Alleged N22.8bn Fraud: Former Air Chief Amosu Opts For Plea Bargain

Alleged N22.8bn Fraud: Former Air Chief Amosu Opts For Plea Bargain
File photo

 

A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), has opted for an out of court settlement with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The retired Air Chief is being prosecuted for an alleged fraud of N22.8bn.

His trial continued on Monday before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Counsel to the EFCC, Nnaemeka Omewa, informed the court that the defence team had met with the anti-graft agency for negotiation in which they proposed terms of settlement.

Counsel to Amosu, Bolaji Ayorinde, also confirmed the position and asked the court to grant the parties a short adjournment to enable them to conclude settlement talks and report back on the outcome.

After listening to the submissions of both parties, Justice Idris adjourned the matter till March 7 for a report of settlement, failing which trial would continue.

The Air Marshal is standing trial alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga, as well as eight other companies for an alleged N22.8bn fraud.

He had initially entered into a plea bargain with the EFCC, but later abandoned it, a move which prompted the anti-graft agency to commence trial against all the defendants.

Funds Diversion: An EFCC Detective’s Testimony Against Amosu

Adesola Amosu, Air Force, EFCC, NIMASA, Tosin OwoboA witness has told a court how a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, and two other Air Force chiefs, diverted the sum of three billion naira paid to the Nigerian Air Force by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Mr Tosin Owobo, an Assistant Detective Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said the money was paid in response to a request made to the Director General of NIMASA at the time, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, by Air Marshal Amosu for assistance on maritime security.

The EFCC detective, a third prosecution witness, made the testimony on Wednesday in continuation of the trial of the former Air Force chiefs at the Federal High Court in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

He informed the court that investigations revealed that there was a Memorandum of Understanding between NIMASA and the Nigerian Air Force.

In furtherance of the memo, NIMASA in 2013 paid the sum of one billion Naira and 480 million Naira to the Nigerian Air Force under the leadership of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Alex Badeh.

In continuation of the agreement in 2014, the EFCC official testified that Mr Amosu wrote to Mr Akpobolokemi, requesting four billion Naira, as the cash amount needed for maritime security.

Mr Akpobolokemi was said to have instead approved the payment of three billion Naira, a sum which was reportedly released in three tranches of one billion Naira each between August and September 2014, and paid into a Nigerian Air Force Special Emergency Operations Account.

The witness added that authorisation for the three billion Naira to be paid into the special account was given by the Director of Accounts, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, the second defendant in this case.

He, however, said that the monies were purportedly transferred from the special account to various oil and gas companies, all of whom have now been listed in the charge alongside the three Air Force chiefs.

The court admitted in evidence, the statements of accounts of the oil companies allegedly involved.

However, a move by the EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, to get the witness to delve into some of the content of the documents was rebuffed by the defence team.

The defence counsels objected the move on the grounds that the witness was not the maker of the documents neither was there an authentication obtained.

Justice Mohammed Idris consequently adjourned till Thursday, February 26 to rule on whether the witness can answer questions based on the documents and for continuation of the trial.

Former Chief of Air Staff, Amosu Returns 2.6bn Naira

Amosun, Air ForceA former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, has returned 2.6 billion naira to the federal government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC confirmed this fact to Channels TV judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, on Wednesday after the arraignment of Air Marshal Amosu before a federal high court sitting in Lagos State.

He was arraigned alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga and seven companies.

EFCC Detains Former Air Chief

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has continued to detain the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu who was arrested on January 27 by operatives of the anti-graft agency.

The former Air Force chief is among the senior military officers President Buhari recently ordered the EFCC to investigate in the ongoing $2.1 billion arms deal scandal.

A source in the Commission said that the Air Chief is being investigated for reportedly authorizing the purchase of two helicopters without functional rotors.

He later, allegedly compelled two Air Force officers to fly in one of the helicopters after the helicopter was equipped with a rotor that was taken from an unserviceable Russian-made helicopter gunship.

The Nigeria Air Force personnel is also being investigated over his role in another 29 billion Naira procurement deals that took place between 2014 and 2015.