A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), who is being tried for an alleged fraud of N22.8bn, has urged the court to direct the prosecution to supply him with the statement obtained from his predecessor, Air Marshall Alex Badeh (rtd).
Amosu’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), insisted yesterday during proceedings before the Federal High Court in Lagos that he would not go on without being supplied with the statement made by Badeh to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He urged the judge to direct the EFCC to supply him with same and to adjourn the matter to enable him to use Badeh’s statement in the defence of Amosu.
The EFCC charged Amosu with an alleged fraud of N22.8bn.
He is being tried alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga.
They were accused of using eight companies to embezzle N22.8bn from NAF’s coffers.
But they pleaded not guilty.
At the yesterday’s proceedings, an operative of the EFCC, Tosin Owobo, who appeared as the second prosecution witness, said during cross-examination by Ayorinde that the funds allegedly diverted by the defendants were meant for NAF’s operations, including Operation Lafiya Dole in the insurgency-troubled North-east.
Owobo told the court that in the course of investigation, his team interviewed and took statements from a number of NAF officers, including Badeh, who all confirmed that the funds were for operations.
“We interviewed other officers like Sergeant Agbogiji Murphy, Air Commodore Yishau, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, Wing Commander Ifuegbu, Umar Mohammed, among other NAF officials.”
Ayorinde then asked the witness if Badeh’s statement was obtained, to which the witness replied in the affirmative, adding that the statement was in the EFCC’s office.
“Is Badeh’s statement before this court?” Ayorinde asked.
“Alex Badeh is not a part of this charge; so, we didn’t file Badeh’s statement,” the witness said.
Looking through NAF’s statement of account, Ayorinde pointed out a February 25, 2014 transaction of N5.1million and asked Owobo if Badeh was questioned as regards the transaction.
Owobo said Badeh was questioned on the transactions in the statement of account and gave answers as to the transactions that fell within his time as the Chief of Air Staff.
“Did you interview Badeh about the N5m transaction of February 25, 2014? If you did, what did he tell you?” Ayorinde asked the witness.
Owobo explained again that Badeh was questioned as regards transactions that took place under his watch.
Moving on, Ayorinde asked if the EFCC also obtained a statement from Umar Mohammed, to which Owobo answered in the positive.
“Where is the statement?” he asked.
“It is in our office,” Owobo said. At this point, Ayorinde told the judge he would no longer be able to continue until the statements were made available to him.
He told the judge that he had earlier written to the EFCC asking to be supplied with all relevant documents to defend his client.
“We do not want to be seen as causing any delay but at the same time we have to do our job very well,” he said, while urging Justice Mohammed Idris to direct the EFCC to produce the documents.
The judge, in a short ruling, directed the prosecution to make all relevant documents available to the defence and adjourned till May 30, 2018 for continuation of trial.