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Alleged N21bn Fraud: Former Chief Of Air Staff, Amosu, Others Not Committed To Plea Bargain Requests, Resolution Of The Case – EFCC


By Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos 

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, was on Thursday (today) informed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu and two others, who are facing prosecution by the EFCC over allegation of fraud to the tune of N21billion, are not committed towards the plea bargain they requested and in the general resolution of the matter.

Others standing trial alongside Amosu are Air Vice Marshal Jacobs Adigun, a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting and Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni, a former Director of Finance and Budget, in the Nigerian Air Force, NAF.

During proceedings on the matter, counsel to the anti-graft agency, Rotimi Oyedepo had hinted Justice Aneke that the defendants, through their lawyers, wrote the EFCC, expressing their willingness to enter into a plea bargain over their involvement in the alleged crimes.

But the Commission's lawyer expressed sadness that the defendants and their counsels have not shown commitment.

According to Oyedepo, “After receiving the letter from the defendants, indicating their willingness to enter into a plea bargain, I made several phone calls to the defence team as I was directed by the EFCC, urging them to come to the EFCC office for a meeting, but they have not shown up. 

“So, it appears to me that the defence and their clients are not committed towards the resolution of this matter.”

Oyedepo further stated that if the defence team refused to come for the meeting before the next adjourned date, the prosecution will have no choice than to continue with the trial.

Responding, Amosu's lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, told the court that they did not honour the invitation to the meeting because the Commission had not formally responded to their letter.

Ayorinde noted that the EFCC only made an oral, rather than a formal invitation for the meeting.

On his part, Adigun's lawyer, Norrison Quakers, SAN, and counsel to Owodunni, the third defendant aligned themselves with Ayorinde’s submission, insisting that the EFCC needed to respond to their letter in writing.

The lawyers further informed Justice Aneke of their willingness to continue with the plea bargain with the Commission.

Quakers also drew the attention of the court to a “Motion on Notice” seeking the temporary release of the international passport of his client to allow him travel out of the country on medical grounds.

In reacting, Oyedepo argued that the application was just served on the prosecution two days back and that he would need ample time to respond to it.

The case was consequently adjourned until October 9, 2019 for hearing of the application and continuation of trial.

It would be recalled that Amosu and the other defendants are facing trial on an amended 13-count charge, bordering on conspiracy and conversion to personal use of the sum of N21billion belonging to NAF.

But the defendants had pleaded not guilty to thr charge.

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