N21 billion fraud: Air Marshal Amosu in plea bargain talks with EFCC

Air Marshal Adesola Amosu
Air Marshal Adesola Amosu

FORMER Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Adesola Amosu and those charged with him yesterday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that they have entered into plea bargain talks with the Federal Government.

Air Marshal Amosu and two others are on trial for alleged conversion of over N21 billion.

Arraigned with the former CAS by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Director of Finance & Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo and former NAF Chief of Accounts & Budgeting Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun.

The commission said they, 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 Justice Idris’ elevation to the Court of Appeal.

Yesterday, defence counsel Norrison Quakers (SAN) told Justice Aneke that the talks were still ongoing.

He said: “The last time we were in court (April 16), we informed your Lordship about the move to expedite the resolution of this matter out of court.

“We’re yet to conclude the resolution of the ‘conflict’ as it were. We need more time. All parties will soon hold a meeting for the purpose of dotting i’s and cross the t’s, which might require the appropriate processes being filed.”

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Prosecution counsel Idris Mohammed confirmed that talks were still ongoing.

“We’re still discussing,” he said.

Amosu held plea bargain talks with 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 prosecution’s terms were stringent.

Also in February last year, Amosu’s lawyer Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) said they were ready to re-open the plea bargain talks.

Again, an agreement could not be reached, following which trial continued.

EFCC had on January 16 obtained a court order forfeiting N2.2 billion recovered from Amosu to the Federal Government.

Also forfeited was N101 million recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to him.

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 July 4 “for report of effort at plea bargaining”.

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