By Kenneth Atavti
A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd.), was yesterday re-arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for an alleged fraud of N21.4bn.
Amosu was re-arraigned alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo, on 13 counts bordering on the alleged crimes.
DayBreak recalled that the trio was first arraigned in June 2016 alongside eight firms before Justice Mohammed Idris.
Their re-arraignment before Justice C.J Aneke yesterday followed the elevation of Justice Idris to the Court of Appeal.
As a result of Justice Idris’ elevation, Amosu’s trial, which has lasted over two years in court, is starting afresh before Justice Aneke.
The EFCC used the opportunity to amend the charge sheet by dropping the names of the eight firms, which were joined as defendants in the earlier charge sheet.
Prior to the re-arraignment of the defendants on Tuesday, Justice Aneke, in a ruling, rejected the prayer by the defense counsel that the eight firms, whose names were removed from the charge sheet, should first be discharged and acquitted before any further action.
But Justice Aneke, in his ruling faulted the argument of the defense counsel and directed that the amended charges be read to Amosu, Adigun and Gbadebo.
The trio pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In the first count, the EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to covert a total sum of N21,467,634,707.43, property of the Nigerian Air Force, The anti-graft agency also alleged they diverted the N21.4bn using several firms.
The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the defendants committed the offense on March 5, 2014, adding that they violated Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and were liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
After they pleaded guilty, Justice Aneke allowed them to continue with the bail granted them in 2016 by Justice Idris.
He adjourned till Wednesday for the continuation of trial.
The EFCC revealed that it has made moves to secure a permanent forfeiture order on a sum of N2.2bn recovered from Amosu.
A similar order is being sought on N190,828,978.15 recovered from Gbadebo.
The anti-graft agency filed a final forfeiture application for the funds before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the same court.
Justice Olatoregun has adjourned ruling on the application till December 3, 2018.