Former Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosun and two other officers of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshall Jacob Bola Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga, were Wednesday, arraigned before Justice M. B. Idris of Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos, on a 26-count charge bordering on alleged money laundering.
Also listed in the alleged crime were 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.
The defendants, among other things, were alleged to have laundered N21billion from the Nigerian Air Force sometime in March 2014 in Lagos. They were also accused of using the companies to conceal source of the funds.
Specifically, Amosun and Adigun were said to have, between July 17 and September 16, 2014 removed over N663.4million from the Nigerian Air Force accounts to purchase properties at 50-52 Tenterden Grove, London (NW4 1TH) and at 93B Shirehall Park, LondonNW4 2QU, United Kingdom.
Some of the charges against them read:
“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 between the 5th day of May,2014 and 4th day of May,2015 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court indirectly converted the sum of N5, 424,159,050.89 (Five Billion, Four Hundred and Twenty Four Million, One Hundred and Fifty Nine Thousand, Fifty Naira and Eight Nine Kobo), 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: stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to fix a trial date and also, to remand the accused in prison custody.
Oyedepo however did not oppose their bail application, but urged the court to impose conditions that will secure their attendance in court.
However, Bolaji Ayorinde SAN and Norrison Quakers SAN and A. Etuokw representing first, second and third defendants respectively prayed the court to admit their clients to bail.
Ayorinde, in his prayer, told the court that his client had been cooperating with EFCC in their investigation adding that he had even agreed to return part of the money.
“My lords, my client has remitted monies not in admission of guilt but just to cooperate with the EFCC. I ask that bail be granted on self-recognizance”, Ayorinde said.
Quakers, while moving his bail application told the court that, his client had cooperated fully with EFCC, but has a health challenge which is to the knowledge of the Commission. He asked that bail be granted on liberal terms.
Also, Etuokw while urging the court to grant the third defendant bail unconditionally or on very liberal terms said, being a serving military man, his client would not jump bail.
Justice Idris granted the defendants bail in the sum of N500 million each, with two sureties each in like sum.
The sureties, Justice Idris said, must have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court.
He also ordered that documents of the properties are to be deposited in court and verified by the registrar. The defendants are also to deposit their international passports with the registrar of court.
The case was adjourned to July 8, 2016 for commencement of trial.
Meanwhile, the judge ordered Amosun and Olugbenga be remanded in prison custody, while Adigun is to stay in EFCC custody pending the perfection of their bail conditions.