A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), yesterday asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to disqualify a prosecution witness, Owobo Tosin, from giving evidence in his trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on June 29 arraigned Amosu along with a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting at the Nigeria Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.
Companies arraigned with them 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 Healthcare Ltd.
EFCC accused them of converting N21billion from the Nigeria Air Force around March 5, 2014 in Lagos.
At the trial yesterday, prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo sought to lead the witness, an investigative officer with the commission, in evidence.
But Amosu’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), objected to EFCC’s alleged refusal to attach the witness’ statement to the proof of evidence.
He said the witness would only be competent to give evidence when copies of his statement were served on the defendants by the EFCC.
Citing Section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, Ayorinde said it was mandatory for any witness, who is to give evidence to have a statement.
He urged the court to disqualify the witness from testifying in the matter. Other defence counsel concurred.
Oyedepo, however, urged the court to refuse the application and allow the witness to continue with his evidence.
Citing Section 175 of the Evidence Act, he maintained a witness could only be disqualified when he cannot understand questions.
He said the proof of evidence served on the defence in June substantially complied with the ACJA 2015.
He added that it was wrong to ask for the statement of an investigative officer because he was merely investigating a crime.
Amosu, charged with laundering N21billion, was said to have returned N2.6 billion to the Federal Government, but a plea bargain proposal he made to the EFCC broke down.
The defendants were accused of using the companies to convert and conceal the money.
Amosu and Adigun were said to have, between July 17 and September 16, 2014, allegedly removed over N663.4 million from the Nigerian Air Force accounts to purchase properties at 50-52 Tenterden Grove, London (NW4 1TH) and at 93B Shirehall Park, London NW4 2QU, United Kingdom.
They were accused of buying 40A, Bourdillon, Ikoyi, with N900 million and a property at Sinari Daranijo in Victoria Island with N1.5 billion.
EFCC said they also bought a property named as Cappadol Mall at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II Abuja, for N750 million, as well as a property worth over N1.7 billion at Agobogba Street, Parkview, Ikoyi Lagos, using the Air Force’s money.
Other properties they allegedly bought using Air Force’s funds include one at Salt Lake Street, Maitama, Abuja; one at Agadez Street off Aminu Kano Crescent, Abuja; 61A, Lake Chad Street, Maitama, Abuja; and one at 1, River Street, Wuse II Abuja, using alleged stolen funds.
Between last March 6 and April 30, the accused allegedly used N428,139,539.00 removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to renovate and purchase medical equipment for Solomon HealthCare Ltd situate at 24, Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja Lagos.
Justice Idris will run on Amosu’s application today.