EFCC decries Amosu lawyer delay tactics

    Nigeria’s anti corruption agency the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused defence counsel in the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.) and 10 others of plotting to delay the case.

    Amosu was charged 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.

    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).

    Amosu had initially moved to enter a plea bargain with EFCC, but later abandoned it as parties could not reach an agreement.

    During hearing last week, a defence counsel, Norrison Quakers (SAN), had cast doubts on the identity of a prosecution witness, Skye Bank Plc’s compliance officer Mr Mojeed Olatunji.

    Quakers demanded that Olatunji should produce his international passport, following which the court adjourned until Monday.

    When the trial resumed on Monday, Olatunji produced his International Passport, which was tendered in evidence.

    Quakers pointed out that the name on the document was at variance with the name the witness gave the court.

    After further cross examination, the defence team sought an adjournment because they needed to question the witness based on a document which was in EFCC’s possession.

    When prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo offered to produce the original documents in court, the defence counsel refused to accept them.

    They insisted they would prefer to apply formally to the EFCC after paying the prescribed fees.

    Oyedepo, however, objected to an adjournment, saying the ground for the prayer was baseless.

    “I have presented the certified true copy of the documents they requested. Having shown good faith, I submit that the ground for seeking an adjournment cannot stand,” he said.

    But Justice Mohammed Idris said he would allow the defence counsel to formally apply to the EFCC for the documents since the Evidence Act allowed it.

    He adjourned until November 23, 24 and 25 for continuation of trial.