N3.6billion fraud : Lawyer’s absence stalls trial of Amosu, others
May 28, 2018
A Federal High Court on Monday adjourned the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, retired Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, to June 13 and June 14 following the absence of his lawyer, Mr Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), in court.
Amosu is facing charges bordering on conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
He is being tried alongside two other officers of the Air Force – Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga for N3.6 billion fraud.
Also charged with them are Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd and Solomon Healthcare Ltd.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the defendants before Justice Idris on June 26, 2016, and they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Each of them was granted bail in the sum of N500 million with two sureties each in like sum.
EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Nnemeka Omenwa, said the offences contravened the provisions of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), counsel to the second accused, informed the court that he had been served with a letter by the first accused’s counsel, Ayorinde, seeking an adjournment.
Ayorinde’s letter explained that he was handling another case at the Ikeja High Court and therefore, requested an adjournment which Quakers did not object to.
But Omenwa objected to the application for adjournment and urged the court to foreclose their right to cross-examine his witness so that he could proceed with his case.
Responding, Quakers informed the court that apart from Ayorinde’s request for an adjournment, the defence lawyers were yet to receive all necessary documents from the prosecution that would assist them in the cross-examination of the witnesses.
Justice Mohammed Idris, who ordered the prosecution to provide all necessary documents to the defence lawyers before the next sitting of the court, adjourned the case until June 13 and June 14 for continuation of trial.
At the last adjournment, Mr Tosin Owobo, the second prosecution witness and EFCC operative, had told the court that during his investigation of the alleged fraud, his team interviewed some Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers.
He listed some of the officers as Sgt. Agbogiji Murphy, Air Commodore Yishau, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, Wing Commander Ifuegbu and Umar Mohammed.
Ayorinde consequently applied to the court that the prosecution should furnish the defence team with the statements and other documents in their custody to enable them to proceed with the cross-examination of the witnesses.
In one of the counts, the accused were said to have indirectly converted the sum of N3.6 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their own use.
The EFCC also alleged that the accused obtained over N323 million from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force between March 21, 2014 and March 12, 2015 for the purpose of purchasing for themselves properties.
The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.