Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alleged N22b fraud: Ex-air chief ‘returns N2.6b to Fed Govt’

The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday heard that a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), charged with laundering N21billion, has returned N2.6billion to the Federal Government.
His lawyer Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), while arguing Amosu’s bail application after he was arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris, said his client had returned “collossal sums”.

Amosu returned N2.6billion to the Federal Government. TheNATION learnt.



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned him along with a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting at the Nigeria Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.

The companies arraigned with them are Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil And Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd, Timsegg Investment Ltd and Solomon Health Care Ltd.



EFCC accused them of converting N21billion from the Nigeria Air Force around March 5, 2014 in Lagos.

They were also accused of concealing “proceeds of crime” and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable  under Section 17(a).

Arguing the bail application, Ayorinde said his client, who pleaded not guilty, had always been cooperative with the prosecution since his arrest in January and would not jump bail.

“He has remitted colossal sums of money to the Federal Government, although not in admittance of guilt, but out of cooperation with security agencies.

“My application is that bail be granted to the first defendant on self-recognisance. Let those terms be liberal. He has been reporting to the EFCC, sometimes twice a week. The first defendant will make himself available for trial,” the Senior Advocate said.

Adigun’s lawyer, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), also urged the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms. “Incidentally, the second defendant is on administrative bail by the commission. He will be available for trial,” he said.

Gbadebo’s lawyer, Mr A. Etuokwu also asked for bail for his client. Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, did not oppose the bail applications, but urged the court to make the terms stringent.

Justice Idris granted them bail for N500 million with two sureties in same like sum. The sureties must be property owners within the court’s jurisdiction, he said.

Title documents of the properties must be submitted to the court’s registrar, which must be verified by the EFCC. The sureties must also swear to an affidavit of means which must be verified by the EFCC, the court ruled.

Justice Idris directed the defendants to submit their travel passport to the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).

He ordered Amosu’s and Gbadebo’s remand in prison custody. Adigun is to be kept in EFCC custody because of his health condition pending when he fulfils his bail terms.

The defendants were accused of using the companies to convert and conceal the money.

Amosu and Adigun were said to have, between July 17 and September 16, 2014,  allegedly removed over N663.4million from the Nigerian Air Force accounts to buy properties at  50-52 Tenterden Grove, London (NW4 1TH) and at 93B Shirehall Park, LondonNW4 2QU, United Kingdom.

They were accused of buying 40A, Bourdillon, Ikoyi, with N900million, and a property at Sinari Daranijo on Victoria Island with N1.5billion.

EFCC said they also bought a property named as Cappadol Mall at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II Abuja, for N750million, as well as a property worth over N1.7billion at Agobogba Street, Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos, using the AirForce’s money.

Other properties they allegedly bought using the Air Force’s funds include one at Salt Lake Street, Maitama, Abuja; one at Agadez Street off Aminu Kano Crescent, Abuja; 61A, Lake Chad Street, Maitama, Abuja; and one at 1, River Street, Wuse II Abuja using alleged stolen funds.

Between last March 6 and April 30, the accused allegedly spent N428,139,539.00, allegedly removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to renovate and purchase medical equipment for Solomon HealthCare Ltd situate at 24th Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja Lagos.

Count one reads: “That You, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (Rtd), Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites Bdc, Fonds and Pricey Ltd,Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd, Timsegg Investment Ltd And Solomon Health Care Ltd on or about the 5th day of March, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sum of N21,467,634,707.43, property of the Nigerian Air Force, which sum was derived from stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable  under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

EFCC said the accused persons converted and concealed the sums, which they “reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: stealing.” They all pleaded not guilty.

Justice Idris adjourned till July 8 for trial.

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