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Alleged N21b: Ex-Air chief Amosu, others opt for plea bargain

Published by The Nation on Wed, 17 Apr 2019


FORMER Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Adesola Amosu and those charged with him yesterday proposed a plea bargain with the Federal Government.They are on trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged conversion of over N21 billion.The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the former Air chief along with a former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo and former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun.The commission said the three, on or about March 5, 2014 in Lagos, conspired to convert N21.4 billion from NAF.They pleaded not guilty.The case began before Justice Mohammed Idris, but was re-assigned to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, following the elevation of Justice Idris to the Court of Appeal.Read also:Drama in court as EFCC re-arrests Ofili-AjumogobiaThe defendants lawyers, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN) and Mr. Wale Taiwo (SAN), urged Justice Aneke to adjourn so they could explore the plea bargain option with the prosecution.Amosu had earlier held plea bargain talks with the EFCC, following his arraignment in June 2016, but the talks failed and trial started before Justice Idris.Defence counsel had on July 8, 2016, sought for time to conclude the out-of-court settlement, but it was learnt that the prosecutions terms were stringent.Also in February last year, the defence counsel said they were ready to re-open the plea bargain talks.Again, an agreement could not be reached, following which trial continued.The anti-graft agency had on January 16 obtained a court order forfeiting N2.2 billion recovered from Air Marshal Amosu.Also forfeited was N101 million recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to him.The money was forfeited to the Federal Government.Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said that though the EFCC has all its witnesses lined up, it welcomed the plea bargain proposal if the defendants were serious.He confirmed that the defendants wrote to the commission and that discussions were ongoing.Prior to the latest development, the EFCC had amended charge, reducing the number of defendants from 11 to three, removing the eight companies previously named in it.Justice Aneke adjourned until May 22 and 23.
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