A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned till Monday the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and 10 others, who are being prosecuted for an alleged fraud of N22.8bn.
Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the case on Friday to enable the first prosecution witness, Mojeed Olatunji, to produce his passport as requested by the defence counsel during cross-examination.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned Amosu on June 29, 2016 alongside two other officers of the Nigerian Air Force – Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga.
The trio were arraigned alongside eight companies, namely: Delfina Oil and Gas Limited, Mcallan Oil and Gas Limited, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited, Trapezites BDC, and Fonds and Pricey Limited.
The 26 counts pressed against the accused by the EFCC border on conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
Among other things, the EFCC accused them of conspiring among themselves on March 5, 2014 to convert N21.5bn belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their personal use.
In one instance, the defendants were accused of indirectly converting a sum of N3.6bn belonging to the NAF to their own.
In another instance, the EFCC alleged that Amosu and the others stole N323,319,283 from the accounts of the NAF between March 21, 2014 and March 12, 2015 to purchase for themselves a property situated at 1, River Street, Wuse II, Abuja.
The alleged act, the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said, is a violation of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. But the accused had pleaded not guilty.
Amosu, Adigun and Olugbenga were subsequently admitted to bail by Justice Mohammed Idris in the sum of N500m each with two sureties in like sum.
In a bid to prove its case, however, the EFCC opened its sitting on Thursday by calling its first witness, Olatunji, a Compliance Officer with Skye Bank Plc.
The witness told the court that the Nigerian Air Force had an account numbered 1750013097 with Skye Bank, which had as its signatories as of January 28, 2014, Air Comdr J.B. Adigun, Air Comdr O.O. Gbadebo and Group Captain B.O.G. Ifeobu.
He told the court that the trio of Adigun, Gbadebo and Ifeobu were the ones who had the mandate on the account and on whose instruction monies were withdrawn from the account.
Armed with the statement of the said NAF’s account with Skye Bank, Olatunji took the court through a number of inflows and outflow of cash transactions carried out on the account.
For example, he told Justice Idris how a sum of N2,409,367,700 was credited into the account on September 11, 2014 and how this was followed by a debit transactions of N959,750,201, 893,295,605 and N556,321,894 four, seven and 13 days after respectively.