Ex-NAF Chief, EFCC Bicker over Stalled Plea Bargain Talks

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Thursday traded blame over their inability to hold plea bargaining talks.

The commission arraigned Amosu along with former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Director of Finance and Budget Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo, and former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, for allegedly conspiring to convert N21.4billion from NAF on or about March 5, 2014 in Lagos.

The defendants, who pleaded not guilty, had written EFCC expressing their intention to resume plea bargain talks which initially broke down.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke had adjourned till yesterday for a report of the outcome of the talks.

But prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, accused the defendants of showing lack of commitment to their proposal.

The lawyer said he personally called the defence counsel, including Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), and Norrison Quakers (SAN), to schedule a meeting, but that they never honoured his invitations.

Oyedepo said: “This matter was adjourned for report of plea bargaining. On receiving their written proposal, I made several calls to both Chief Ayorinde and Mr. Quakers urging them to come for an official meeting to discuss and agree. None of them visited our office.

“It appears to me that they defendants are not committed to the resolution of this matter in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.”

But Ayorinde said the delay was caused by EFCC. He said the commission failed to respond in writing to the defendants’ proposal.

“It is true that we wrote a couple of letters to the prosecution. There was no reply to either of them. Their style is that they will never write in response to any request.

“We cannot force him to write if it is the style of their office not to write. We expected a formal invitation,” Ayorinde said.

Quakers added that it was not true that the defence was not serious about their plea bargain proposal.

“We sent letters which were duly acknowledged. But there has been no official communication. In fairness to Oyedepo, he has been doing his bit, but it is not right for an institution not to reply to a letter,” the SAN said.