Wednesday, January 25, 2017 10:46 pm
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission operative (EFCC), Tosin Owobo, today, told a Federal High Court, in Lagos South West Nigeria how Air Marshall Adesola Amosu Nanayon (retired), who was a former Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, and two other Airforce Chiefs, diverted the sum of N3 billion meant for security of the country’s maritime envinroment to his personal oil and gas companies.
Owobo, Assistant Detective Superintendent with the EFCC, in graphic details narrated how the former Airforce Chief received the money from Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under the leadership of Dr. Patrick Akpolobokemi, while being led-in-evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo.
Amosu alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga and eight fictitious companies, are standing trial before the court over alleged N22.8 billion fraud.
The companies facing trial alongside the three Airforce Chiefs are: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil And Gas Limited, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Limited, Timsegg Investment Limited and Solomon Health Care.
At the resumed trial of the accused persons today, the detective informed the court that the anti-graft agency during investigation discovered that there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Nigerian Air force (NAF) and NIMASA while Air Marshall Alex Badeh was the nation’s Chief of Air Staff (COAS), and that a sum of N1. 480 billion was paid to Ngeria Airforce account in 2014, from NIMASA, for securing the nation’s Maritime environment.
He said the money was paid in two tranches of N1.480 million, into an account with Skye Bank.
Owobo also told the court that on resumption of office by Air Marshall Amosu as the nation’s Chief of Air Staff, he continued with Badeh’s MOU, and made a proposal of N4 billion to NIMASA which he claimed was needed to manage the Maritime Security, but stated that the former Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Akpolobokemi only released the sum of N3 billion, which were paid in three tranches of N1 billion each into Special Emergency Operation of Nigerian Air Force .
The witness who was the third witness in the criminal trial, further stated that upon investigating on how the money was spent, he said it was discovered that the monies were diverted into the Air Force Chiefs Oil and Gas Companies.
The oil and gas firms which the monies were diverted are: Right Option Oil and Gas Limited, Delfina Oil and Gas Limited, Mcallan Oil and Gas Limited, and Deegee Oil and Gas Limited.
However, attempt by the witness to give details on the documents tendered as exhibits in the trial was opposed by the lawyers representing the accused persons.
The accused persons’ lawyers, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN, Kemi Balogun SAN, Norrison Quakers SAN, leading eleven other lawyers argued that the witness was not the maker of the document tendered, neither did he confirm the authentication of the documents from the maker,therefore, he cannot give evidence on the exhibits.
However, the prosecutor, Oyedepo, while urging the court to discontenance the objection raised by the defence, told the court that the witness is an Investigating Officer, who investigated the alleged crime, therefore he can give evidence on the documents tendered.
Prior to the commencement of the day’s proceedings, the presiding judge Mohammed Idris, ruled against the reliefs sought by the defence, urging the court to remove earlier evidence given by the witness in the trial.
The matter has been adjourned till tomorrow for ruling on if the witness can give evidence on the documents tendered or not, and for continuation of trial of accused persons.
The accused persons were first arraigned before the court on June 29, on 23 counts charge bordering on fraud, money laundering, and stealing.
The offences are contrary to sections 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act