Drama in court as retired AVM Amosu’s surety withdraws from N21bn fraud trial

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A mild drama unfolded Thursday in the ongoing trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.) and others before Justice M.B. Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, as one John Okeke, who had been standing surety to the first defendant, Amosu, announced his withdrawal from the case.

Amosu is standing trial alongside two serving senior Air Force Officers: Air Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting and Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, a former Director of Finance and Budget.

Also charged along 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.

The defendants are standing trial on a 23-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, money laundering, concealing of proceeds of crime and conversion of funds belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their personal use.

During the proceedings, counsel to the first defendant, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, told court that Okeke had expressed the desire to withdraw all his documents as well as himself from further being the surety to Amosu.

Okeke, who signified his intention to address the court during the proceedings, told the court that he had written a letter to Ayorinde about five months ago, informing him that he was not interested in being Amosu’s surety any longer.

He further told the court that Ayorinde, however, did not reply to his letter, adding that “After waiting in vain to get a reply to my letter from his counsel, I decided to write to the court on October 3, 2017 to avail me with all the documents I had used as surety for Amosu.”

Justice Idris acknowledged seeing the letter written by Okeke,and stated that the documents would soon be returned to him.

Meanwhile, Justice Idris also admitted in evidence a document detailing how the accused had moved huge sums of money from the NAF operational accounts to several personal companies’ accounts.

At the last adjourned sitting on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had sought to tender in evidence the opening documents of the companies’ accounts with Zenith Bank and other accounts traced to the defendants.

However, the defence counsel objected to their admissibility on the grounds that they were not duly certified.

In his short ruling today, Justice Idris held that “The documents and the letter attached to it are relevant to this matter.

“Therefore, the documents and the attachment are hereby admitted in evidence.”

Emeka Omewa, who stood in for the lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court to adjourn the matter.

Consequently, Justice Idris adjourned the matter to November 7 and 8, 2017 for continuation of trial.

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