Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, adjourned to May 28, 2018 further hearing in an alleged N21bn fraud trial involving a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu ( retd.) and others.
Amosu is standing trial alongside two serving senior Air Force officers: Air Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, a former Chief of Accounts and Budget and Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, a former Director of Finance and Budget.
Also charged with the accused are seven companies namely Delfina Oil and Gas Limited; McAllan Oil and Gas Limited; Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited; Trapezites BDC; Fonds and Pricey Limited; Deegee Oil and Gas Limited; Timsegg Investment Limited and Solomon Health Care Limited.
At the resumed hearing today, Tosin Owobo, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the court that the sum of N5m was paid into the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operations account domiciled in Skye Bank on February 25, 2014.
While being cross-examined by the lead defence counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, Owobo further said that the Commission, as part of its investigation, invited Amosu, Alex Badeh, a former Chief of Air Staff, and other NAF officials, including Umar Mohammed, who all made statements in respect of the transaction.
When asked by Ayorinde the purpose for which the transaction was made, Owobo told the court that the former Air Chiefs and NAF officials said the money was for operational activities like Operation Lafia Dole and aviation fuelling, among others.
Owobo, however, admitted that Badeh had ceased to be Chief of Air Staff as at February 25, 2014.
Though he also told the court that the team of investigators obtained statements from Badeh and Mohammed, he said Badeh’s statement did not form part of the charge.
Also, when asked about Mohammed’s statement, he said: “It has not been tendered before the court.”
Consequently, Ayorinde moved an oral application seeking that all the statements of the NAF officials interviewed in the course of the investigations must be made available to the court.
He also told the court that he could not proceed with the cross- examination of the witness until the prosecution makes the statement of both Badeh and Mohammed to the EFCC available to the court.
“My Lord, it is a constitutional issue under Section 379(3) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA),” he said.
He, therefore, asked for an adjournment of the proceedings.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, however, told the court that the documents were in the proof of evidence.
“My Lord, it is not an extra- judicial statement of the witness.
“The extra- judicial statement of another witness cannot be used to cross-examine Owobo on the grounds that he was not the maker,” he further argued.
Oyedepo further urged the court to stand down the matter for 20 minutes so that he could bring the documents to the court for the defence counsel to continue his cross-examination of the witness.
Oyedepo also urged the court to reject the application for adjournment by the defence.
Justice Idris, after listening to both counsels, adjourned the trial to May 28 and June 13 and 14, 2018 and ordered the prosecution to make all the certified copies of the statements available to the defence.
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