Court to Rule on Final Forfeiture of N2.2bn Suit Against Ex-Air Chief, Amosu
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, fixed November 12, for the hearing of a motion, seeking final forfeiture to the Federal Government N2.2 billion recovered from a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.
Justice Olatoregun had on June 14, issued an interim order of forfeiture of the sum, sequel to an exparte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Joined as respondents in the suit are Amosu and Solomon Enterprises Ltd.
EFCC had said that the sums were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Justice Olatoregun had also issued an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of N190 million recovered from a former Air Force Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.
The court had further ordered a temporary forfeiture of N101 million recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to Amosu.
EFCC was directed by the court to publish the interim orders in two national dailies, for the respondents or any interested party, to explain why a final order of forfeiture should not be made.
At the last adjourned date on October 29, the court had adjourned the matter to enable parties respond to the suit.
At the resumed hearing of the case, yesterday, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo announced his appearance for the commission while Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, appeared for the first respondent.
Oluwakemi Balogun SAN, announced appearance for the intervener/interested party (Bolaji Adigun) Balogun however, informed the court that his junior counsel, Dapo Ogungbe will move the application.
However, Ayorinde, told the court that he had a motion seeking to regularise, as well as another, seeking extension of time for the first respondent to file an affidavit to show cause, as directed by the court. After moving his applications, the court granted same.
Ogungbe, while moving his application on behalf of an interested party, (Bolaji Adigun), informed the court of a letter seeking to withdraw an earlier application to discharge the interim order.
Similarly, the EFCC, yesterday, failed to re-arraign a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (retd) and two others before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos over alleged N21.5 billion fraud.
Amosu is standing trial on a 13-count amended charge marked FHC/L/280C/16, alongside a former Nigeria Air Force Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga.
Recall that the trio had earlier been docked alongside eight companies by EFCC, on 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.
The case was however re-assigned to Justice Aneke to start afresh following the elevation of Justice Idris to the Court of Appeal.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, drew the court’s attention to the amended charge dated October 15, 2018.
He urged the court to accept the charge and permit its reading to the defendants for their plea to be taken.
In his response to Oyedepo’s request, Amosu’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, while acknowledging the prosecution’s right to amend the charge expressed his concerns over its consequence, particularly on the other defendants that were left out in the new charge.
He said: “The old charge contained 11 defendants while there are only 3 defendants in the new charge. The court already has jurisdiction over the existing charge. The old charge must be given a decent burial as it cannot co-exist with the new charge.”
“If the prosecution is withdrawing the old charge for the new charge, there must be a consequential pronouncement by the court. A pronouncement ought to be made regarding the 4th to 11th defendants that were not part of the new charge”.
Ayorinde urged the court to evoke the provisions of Section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 to discharge and acquit them.
Other defence lawyers aligned themselves with Ayorinde’s submissions.
Consequently both cases were adjourned till November 12, 13, for hearing.
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