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N22.8bn Fraud: Amosu, Others' Trial Adjourn Till May 14

Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned further hearing in the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu (retd.) and ten others over alleged N22.8 billion fraud to May 14.

The matter was adjourned after the defence lawyers notified the judge they are yet to lay their hands on the court’s record of proceedings.

Speaking on the issue, one of the defence lawyers, Kemi Balogun (SAN), disclosed that they are yet to be availed with the record of proceedings as directed by the court.

He said: “The matter was adjourned till today hoping that the record of proceedings requested for will be available today. But sadly, the record of proceedings is not yet ready and we are told that finishing touches are being applied to ensure that it is error free”.

The silk later sought for an adjournment of the matter to May 14.

Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he will not be opposing the request for adjournment due to the subsisting court’s ruling on the matter.

Justice Idris while adjourning the matter to May 14 disclosed that he was only doing so in the interest of justice and not because the court’s record of proceedings is yet to be made available to the defence lawyers.

The judge had on April 18, granted the defendants access to the court’s record. The action was sequel to a request by the defendants’ lawyers asking that court’s record of proceedings should be made available to them in order to effectively cross-examine an investigative officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tosin Owobo.

Speaking on the request, Amosu’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), drew the court’s attention to a letter dated March 29, 2018, wherein he is asking that the Certified True Copy (CTC) of record of proceedings be made available to him.

He said: “On March 29, 2018, we had written the court applying for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the proceedings as recorded by the court. I will be applying that the court should direct the registrar to provide us with the CTC of the proceedings. We want to study it for us to properly cross-examine the witness”.

He later sought an adjournment of the matter. Other defence lawyers aligned themselves with Ayorinde’s submissions.

Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, faulted the request saying the defendants have been afforded requisite time and facilities to prepare for their defence.

“The defendants were served with the proof of evidence on June 23, 2016. During proceedings, the defence was taking notes painstakingly and as such it cannot be said that records of proceedings were not available to them. It would have been a different thing if the defence lawyers have not participated in the proceedings. The application is not in the interest of justice and I urged the court to refuse it”, he said.

However, in a Bench ruling, Justice Idris overruled Oyedepo’s objection and granted the defendants permission to access the court’s record.

Amosu was on June 29, 2016, arraigned by the anti-graft agency alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga and eight companies over alleged N22.8 billion fraud.

The companies 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.

 Some of the counts against the accused persons read as thus:

"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.

"That you, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (retd), Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd. and  Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd. between the 2nd and 4th day of September, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court indirectly converted through Rite Options Oil and Gas Ltd. and Juda Oil Ltd. the sum of N1 billion, property of the Nigerian Air Force which sum your reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

"That you, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (retd), Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, and Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd between the 16th and 17th day of September, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court indirectly converted the sum of N1 billion, property of the Nigerian Air Force which sum your reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit.

"That you, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (retd), 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. between the 23rd and 24th day of September, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court indirectly converted the sum of N976 million, property of the Nigerian Air Force which sum your reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act

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