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N21.4bn fraud charge: Court reserves ruling against Amosu, others for Nov. 13 on amended charge

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday reserved ruling until Nov.13 on arguments over an amended charge against a former Chief of Air Staff, retired Air Marshal Adesola Amosu  and two others over alleged N21.4 billion fraud.

Charged alongside Amosu in the 13-count amended charge are a former Nigeria Air Force, Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Bola Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the trio had earlier been docked alongside eight companies by the anti-graft agency on the June 29, 2016 before Justice Mohammed Idris on a 26-count charge bordering on the alleged offence.

The companies involved 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.

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The case was, however, re-assigned to Justice Aneke to start afresh following the elevation of Justice Idris to the Court of Appeal.

On Tuesday, EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, drew the court’s attention to the amended charge dated Oct. 15 and urged the court to accept the charge and permit the pleas of the accused to be taken.

Responding to Oyedepo’s request, Amosu’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), while acknowledging prosecution’s right to amend the charge, expressed concerns on its consequences particularly on the other accused whose name were left out in the new charge.

According to him, there should be a court’s pronouncement discharging and acquitting the other accused because the prosecution has dropped their names.

Other defence lawyers aligned themselves with Ayorinde’s submissions.

In his response, Oyedepo faulted the submissions of the defence lawyers on the grounds that the court can only take their objections after the re-arraignment of the accused on the new charge.

After listening to submissions of both parties, Justice Aneke reserved ruling until Nov.13.

In the amended charge, Amosu and others were said to have conspired to convert the total sum of N21.4 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of their unlawful activities namely: criminal breach of trust.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).


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