- N22.8bn Fraud: Amosu, Others Abandon Plea Bargain
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday opened its case against a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and 10 others, who are being tried for an alleged fraud of N22.8bn.
The defendants, who were arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos on June 29, 2016, had on July 8, 2016 indicated their intention to enter into a plea bargain with the Federal Government.
On July 8, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had appeared in court with a draft copy of the terms of the plea bargain proposed by the Federal Government.
He informed the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, that he had served the draft terms of the plea bargain on the defendants while confirming that the defendants had approached the EFFC with a proposition to plea bargain.
Oyedepo then told the court that he was ready to go on with the process of the plea bargain.
But the defence counsel, comprising Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN), Mr. Kemi Balogun (SAN) and Mr. A. Etuokwu, had sought an adjournment to enable their clients to perfect their bail terms and regain their freedom from custody before going ahead with the plea bargain.
Quakers argued that though the defendants were the ones who broached the idea of a plea bargain, they needed to be out of the EFCC custody first before they would be able to negotiate properly with the prosecution.
“When a man is in a custodian environment, anything you want him to say, he would say; anything you want him to do, he would do. We should not be stampeded or boxed into a corner,” Quakers said.
But at the resumed proceedings in the case on Thursday, rather than proceed with the plea bargain, the EFCC lawyer, Oyedepo, opened his case and called his first witness.
He told our correspondent that the defendants were not pleased with the terms given to them by the Federal Government and had abandoned the plea bargain and had opted for full trial instead.
Standing trial alongside Amosu are two other officers of the Nigerian Air Force — Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga.
The trio are being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside 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.
Among other things, the EFCC accused them of conspiring among themselves on March 5, 2014 to convert N21.5bn belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their personal use.