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Alleged N3.2bn Fraud: Ex-Air Force chief, others investigated by 8 EFCC operatives- Witness

A prosecution witness, Tosin Owobo, on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that a team of eight operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigated a former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu.

Mr Owobo made the statement under cross-examination at the resumed trial of Mr Amosu, a retired air marshal, who is facing fraud charges alongside two other officers of the Air Force – Jacob Adigun, air vice marshal and Gbadebo Olugbenga, a commodore.

Charged alongside with them are some companies — Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd and Solomon healthcare Ltd.

The witness, an operative with the EFCC, had begun his evidence in December 2017, as second prosecution witness (pw2).

On Monday, Nnemeka Omewa announced appearance for the EFCC, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) appeared for the first and 11th accused, while Kemi Balogun (SAN) also featured as the defence counsel.

Cross-examining the witness, Mr Ayorinde asked: You described yourself as an operative with the EFCC in Lagos, so will you also describe yourself as an investigator?

Witness: As an operative, we also investigate all cases of Economic and Financial crimes, so I have been trained as an investigator.

Ayorinde: When did you train as an investigator?

Witness: From November 2014 to April 2015.

When asked if his training was limited to just five months, the witness replied: No, it is not limited, subsequently, the commission carries out periodic training of all its staff as it deems fit.

On whether he investigated the case of the accused, the witness replied: I and my team of the Special Tasks Force two, investigated the case.

According to him, the commission does not work in isolation but as a team.

He named the team which investigated the accused as PDS Ghali Ahmed, SDS Daniel Danladi, SDS Okukpe, ADS Tosin Owobo, Insp. Yunusa Abubakar, Insp. Obinna and DI Helen.

He said that since the commission worked as a team, he participated in all aspects of investigations, adding that the commission did not conduct raids but searches.

Mr Owobo told the court that he also investigated the sources of funds which flowed into the operations account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

When asked to identify three of such cash inflows, the witness said that on January 17, 2013, there was an inflow into the NAF account of the sum of N1 billion from the Ministry of Defence Headquarters.

He said that on May 15, 2013, there was an inflow from the Defence Headquarters of the sum of N100 million while on June 12, 2013, there was a NIP transaction of the sum of N18.6 million.

Mr Ayorinde: While doing analysis during your investigations, did you discover what purpose the inflow was meant for?

Witness: After we began our investigations, the NAF officers we had a discussion and he told us that they run operative functions with some of the funds in the account when they receive instructions from the Chief of Air Staff.

Mr Ayorinde: Did you ask the Ministry of Defence why the N1 billion was paid from the Ministry ?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Mr Ayorinde: On May 15, 2013, the defence headquarters paid in N100 million, did you find out what purpose it was for?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Mr Ayorinde: On June 12, 2013, there was a transfer of N18.6 million, can you remember what it was meant for?

Witness: It was a NIP transaction, we did not inquire.

Justice Mohammed Idris has adjourned until May 15 for continuation of trial.

The accused were arraigned before Justice Idris on June 26, 2016, and had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr Idirs had granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each, with two sureties each in like sum.

They were charged with conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.

The accused were said to have indirectly converted the sum of N3.6 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to their own use.

The EFCC alleged that the accused obtained over N323 million from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force between March 21, 2014 and March 12, 2015 which they claimed was for the purchase of some properties.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.


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