The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of N2.2billion recovered from former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun made the order based on an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge ruled: “An interim order is made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the total sum of N2,244,500,000 found and recovered by the commission from the first respondent (Amosu) which sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.”
The judge granted an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of N190,828,978.15 recovered from a former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Director of Finance and Budget Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.
Justice Olatoregun also ordered temporary forfeiture of N101 million recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to Amosu.
EFCC said the sum “is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.”
The judge directed EFCC to publish the interim order in The Nation and The Punch so that the respondents or anyone interested can show cause as to why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.
Justice Olatoregun made the order on June 7 after the ex-parte application was moved by the EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo. A copy of the order was obtained yesterday.
Amosu, Gbadebo and former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting Air Vice Marshal Jacob are on trial before Justice Mohammed Idris of the same court.
EFCC accused them of converting N21billion from NAF through various companies, namely 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.
Before the trial started, Amosu had told the court that he was holding plea bargain talks with the EFCC.
Arguing his bail application last June after Amosu’s arraignment, his lawyer Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) said his client had returned “collossal sums”.
However, after the plea bargain talks broke down the trial started.
EFCC’s investigator Tosin Owobo, testifying, said N5.9billion was transferred from NAF accounts to Delfina Oil and Gas, among others. He said once the money was converted to dollars, it would be handed over to Gbadebo, who took it to Adigun, who in turn took it to Amosu.
He said Mcallan Oil and Gas received N6.1billion from NAF. Trapezites BDC received N3.6billion.
Owobo said Deegee Oil and Gas received N800million from NAF accounts. Timsegg also got the same amount.
“These companies were not into oil and gas. The N21billion was moved from various NAF accounts without appropriation,” he said.
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, removed over N663.4million from the Nigerian Air Force accounts to purchase properties at 50-52 Tenterden Grove, London (NW4 1TH) and at 93B Shirehall Park, LondonNW4 2QU, United Kingdom.
They were accused of buying 40A, Bourdillon, Ikoyi, with N900million, and a property at Sinari Daranijo on Victoria Island with N1.5billion.
EFCC said they also bought a property named Cappadol Mall at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II Abuja, for N750million, as well as a property worth over N1.7billion at Agodogba 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.
The defendants allegedly used N428,139,539.00 removed from NAF accounts to renovate and purchase medical equipment for Solomon HealthCare Ltd situate at 24th Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja, Lagos.
Justice Olatoregun adjourned till June 29 for the final forfeiture hearing. The trial continues today before Justice Idris. (The Nation )