The Federal High Court in Lagos was yesterday told that a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Adesola Amosu (rtd), allegedly diverted N21billion.
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigator, Tosin Owobo, said Amosu laundered the money through various oil and gas companies.
Owobo, an Assistant Detective Superintendent with the EFCC, was testifying for the prosecution in Amosu’s trial.
EFCC arraigned the former air force chief 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).
On how part of the money was allegedly laundered, Owobo said in 2014, Amosu wrote to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) requesting for funds for maritime security.
He said Amosu itemised what was needed to provide maritime security and sent a proposal to NIMASA Director-General Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi.
The witness said Amosu demanded over N4billion from Akpobolokemi “as the cash amount needed” for the security service.
According to the witness, Akpobolokemi approved N3billion, which was paid to the Nigerian Air Force under Amosu.
“The money was released to NAF Special Emergency Operation account in 2014. NAF had also sent as part of the memo the account they wanted the money to be paid,” Owobo said.
According to the EFCC investigator, the letter requesting for the money from NIMASA was signed by Adigun on Amosu’s behalf.
“We discovered that between August and September 2014, the money was paid in three installments of N1billion each,” he said.
The witness said further investigation revealed that the money was moved from the NAF account to several oil and gas companies, such as Right Option Oil and Gas, Delfina Oil and Gas, McAllan Oil and Gas and others.
“As the monies came in, they were being transferred to various oil and gas companies. We carried out further analysis to know the accounts. We wrote the bank, requesting the statement of account of these oil companies,” the witness added.
EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, tendered the account opening documents of the oil and gas companies as well as details of the NAF Special Emergency Operation account.
But, when he sought to ask the witness questions based on the documents, defence counsel, including Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) and Norrison Quakers (SAN), objected on the grounds that Owobo was not the maker of the documents, adding that the documents should speak for themselves.
But Oyedepo argued that since the witness was the investigator, he was at liberty to say what he discovered, including making references to the documents.
Justice Idris adjourned until today for ruling and continuation of trial.