A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, yesterday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that he was holding plea bargain talks with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
An investigation officer, Tosin Owobo, had earlier testified that Amosu and two other former air chiefs allegedly diverted N21billion to their personal accounts from the Nigeria Air Force (NAF).
He said they diverted the sum through several companies, which they personally incorporated, none of which had any transaction or contract with NAF.
Owobo was testifying in the trial of Amosu, former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.
They were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris but pleaded not guilty. An initial plea bargain talks with EFCC broke down after they reportedly refunded about N2 billion to the Federal Government.
EFCC accused them of converting N21billion from NAF through various companies, namely 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.
Yesterday, EFCC’s lawyer Nnaemeka Omewa told the court that the defence team was in talks with the commission towards reaching a plea bargain agreement.
“My lord, the defence team met with the prosecution and has proposed terms of settlement. We are still on it, but we are also ready to go on with the trial of the accused persons,” Omewa said.
Amosu’s lawyer Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) confirmed that talks were ongoing, but he sought an adjournment to allow parties conclude with discussions.
Owobo had testified that N5.9 billion was transferred from NAF accounts to Delfina Oil and Gas.
He said once the money was converted to dollars, it would be handed over to Gbadebo, who took it to Adigun, who in turn took it to Amosu.
Owobo told the court that Adigun owns Hebron Housing and Properties, which also received fund transfers from NAF despite not rendering any service to it.
According to him, all the accounts had a single accounts officer, Mrs. Funke Osinsanmi, at the bank where they were domiciled.
He said a developer, Babatunde Omolehin of Canon Projects, told EFCC investigators that he met Adigun, who informed him that he owned Hebron Housing and Properties.
He (Omolehin) subsequently received N1.4 billion from Adigun to develop some properties for him.
Owobo said the properties include 40A Bourdillion Road, Ikoyi, which is of 300 square meters; 12 blocks of flats in Parkview Estate and another 12 blocks of flats in Victoria Island.
“The properties were not purchased in the name of NAF but by Adigun. He also purchased the properties in Abuja,” he said.
Owobo said over N600 million was transferred to a company, Right Option Oil and Gas, for the purchase of two properties in the United Kingdom through Adigun’s brother.
According to him, the company, in turn, transferred about $3 million to UK for the properties and that they were not bought in NAF’s name.
Justice Idris adjourned till March 7 for report on progress of the plea bargain talks.