N22.8b Fraud: Ex-Air chief Amosu, EFCC Yet To Conclude Plea Bargain Talks

N22.8b Fraud: Ex-Air chief Amosu, EFCC Yet To Conclude Plea Bargain Talks

 The lawyer to a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu  on Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that his client and his co-accused are yet to conclude discussions with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a plea bargain agreement to end the trial.

The lawyer, Norrison Quakers (SAN) told the trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke that parties in the matter are still talking and that the court should grant them more time to conclude the negotiations.

The former Chief of Air Staff was arraigned before the court on June 29, 2016 by the EFCC alongside two senior serving Air Force officers, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga over an alleged N22.8 billion fraud.

The trio were alleged to have conspired to convert the funds belonging to the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, to their personal use, sometime in 2014.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The case began before Justice Mohammed Idris, but was re-assigned to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke after Justice Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal.

At resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, Quakers told Justice Aneke on that the talks were still ongoing on the attempt by parties to resolve the case through a plea bargain agreement.

The lawyer said: “The last time we were in court (April 16), we informed your Lordship about the move to expedite the resolution of this matter out of court.

“We are yet to conclude the resolution of the ‘conflict’ as it were. We need more time.

“All parties will soon hold a meeting for the purpose of dotting I’s and cross the t’s, which might require the appropriate processes being filed,” he stated

On his part the EFCC counsel, Mohammed Idris confirmed that talks were still ongoing.

“We’re still discussing,” he said.

The defendants held plea bargain talks with EFCC following their arraignment in June 2016, but the talks failed and trial started before Justice Idris.

Defence counsel had on July 8, 2016, sought for time to conclude the out-of-court settlement, but it was learnt that the prosecution’s terms were stringent.

Also in February last year, Amosu’s lawyer Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) said they were ready to re-open the plea bargain talks.

Again, an agreement could not be reached, following which trial continued.

EFCC had on January 16 obtained a court order forfeiting N2.2billion recovered from Amosu to the Federal Government.

Also forfeited was N101 million recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to him.

EFCC had amended charge, reducing the number of defendants from 11 to three, removing the eight companies previously named in it.

Justice Aneke adjourned until July 4 for parties report back to court

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