By Kingsley Nwezeh
The trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd) continued yesterday before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Ikoyi with a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) further testifying against Amosu and two others on their complicity in the alleged diversion to personal use of about N21 billion belonging to the Nigeria Air Force.
An EFCC statement recalled that Amosu, alongside Air Vice Marshall Jacobs Adigun, a former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budget, and Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni, a former NAF Director of Finance and Budget, are standing trial on an amended 13-count charge.
Their trial began in June 2016 before Justice Idris Mohammed but was later reassigned to Justice Aneke following the elevation of Justice Mohammed to the Court of Appeal.
They were re-arraigned in November 2018 and they pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Continuing with his examination-in-chief, Okechukwu Akubue, who is testifying as the first prosecution witness, narrated how public funds meant for the NAF were traced to the defendants.
Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Suleiman Suleiman, the witness, who is an EFCC operative, identified Exhibit A3 before the Court as the bank statement of the NAF Special Emergency Operations Account.
According to him, the bank statement was part of the responses to letters of investigation sent to several financial institutions by the EFCC.
Identifying Adigun and Owodunni as the signatories to the account as indicated by the bank mandate, he noted that the EFCC had in 2015 received intelligence report on the alleged fraud.
Narrowing down to the transaction of April 8, 2014 in the statement, Akubue noted that the entry was an inflow of N1billion from one of the NAF account domiciled in Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank).
He said: “The account where the money came from is also one of the accounts under investigation.
“One of the disbursements from the N1billion is the sum of N16, 980,000 on the 17th of April 2014 to a firm known as Delcon Installers Limited.
“We did further investigation of the company and we gathered that the money was not used to procure services for NAF.”
Akubue further highlighted the transaction of the 28th of August 2014, noting that “a credit sum of N1billion came from NIMASA”.
He explained further that in the course of investigation, the investigating team came across a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NIMASA and NAF for the protection of Nigeria’s waterways, which prompted the credit of N1billion from NIMASA to NAF.
“In our investigation, we came across a debit of N4, 801,549 withdrawn on 2nd September 2014 from this inflow, into the account of Hebron Housing and Property,” Akubue said, adding that the company was linked to the second defendant “by way of ownership” and was used to “purchase assets on behalf of the defendants”.
The case has been adjourned till January 19 for “continuation of trial”.