A former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu, who was accused of stealing from the Nigerian Air Force bank account to buy personal properties worth billions of naira, is still in plea bargain talks with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, his lawyer told a federal judge Tuesday.
Norrison Quakers, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, told Justice Mohammed Idris of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court that the plea bargain talks between his client and the EFCC were still ongoing.
Mr. Amosu, a retired Air Marshal, was arraigned in June alongside Jacob Adigun, an Air Vice Marshal, and Gbadebo Olugbenga, an Air Commodore, on a 26-count charge of stealing N50 billion.
Also arraigned with the trio were their companies – 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.
On July 8, the defence team, made up of Mr. Quakers, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Kemi Balogun (SAN) and A. Etuokwu informed the court of their clients’ intention to enter plea bargain.
The members of the team, who had earlier told the judge that their clients had returned “colossal sums” to the federal government, sought an adjournment to perfect their N500 million each bail condition and to “smoothen” their talks with the EFCC.
According to the charge sheet, Mr. Amosu and Mr. Adigun, a former Head of Accounts and Budgeting at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), allegedly removed sums running into billions of naira from NAF’s bank account to purchase properties for themselves in choice locations in Abuja, Lagos, and London.
They include N400 million to renovate and purchase medical equipment for Solomon HealthCare Ltd, 24 Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja; N500 million to purchase a property at No. 1 River Street, Wuse 2, Abuja; N240 million to purchase a property at No.61A, Lake Chad Street, Maitama, Abuja; and N370 million property at Agadez Street, off Aminu Kano Crescent, Abuja.
Others are N440 million to purchase a property at Salt Lake Street, Maitama, Abuja; N1.7 billion for property at Agobogba Street, Parkview, Ikoyi; N750 million to purchase Cappadol Mall at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse 2, Abuja; N1.5 billion for property at Sinari Daranijo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; and N900 million to purchase a property No. 40A, Bourdillon, Ikoyi.
Outside Nigeria, the duo allegedly withdrew N660 million from the NAF account to purchase two properties at No. 50-52 Tenterden Grove, London (NW4 1TH) and No. 93B Shirehall Park, London NW4 2QU, United Kingdom.
On Tuesday, Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, said he had brought two witnesses and was ready to invite them to the dock.
But Mr. Ayorinde objected, arguing that the matter was adjourned for mention and not trial.
Other members of the defence team aligned with Mr. Ayorinde, adding that their clients were still in plea bargain talks with the Commission.
In a short ruling, the judge agreed that the court’s records showed the matter had been, indeed, adjourned for mention.
He adjourned till October 20, 21 and 24, 2016 for trial.