N22.8 bn Fraud: How Amosu, others used NIMASA’s funds for business

Tosin Owobo, a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), testifying in the trial of Air Marshall Adesola Amosu Nanayon (retired), a former Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff (COAS), on Wednesday, narrated before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos how Amosu diverted the sum of N3 billion meant for NIMASA to his personal oil and gas companies.

Owobo, an Assistant Detective Superintendent with the EFCC, gave detailed summary of 
how the former Air force Chief, received the money from Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under the leadership of Patrick Akpolobokemi.

Amosu is standing trial alongside Air vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga and eight companies over the alleged N22.8 billion fraud.

The companies are: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil And Gas Limited, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Limited, Timsegg Investment Limited and Solomon Health Care.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, Owobo informed the court that the anti-graft agency during investigation discovered that there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Nigerian Air force (NAF) and NIMASA while Air Marshall Alex Badeh was the nation’s Chief of Air Staff, and that a sum of N1. 480 billion was paid to NAF in 2014, from Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), for securing the nation’s Maritime.

He said the money was paid in two tranches of N1.480 million, into an account with Skye Bank.

Awobo also informed the court that on resumption in by Air Marshall Amosu as the nation’s COAS, he made a proposal of N4 billion to NIMASA which he claimed was needed to manage the Maritime security, but stated that the former Director-General of NIMASA, Akpolobokemi only released the sum of N3 billion, which was paid in three tranches of N1 billion each into Special Emergency Operation of NAF.

Furthermore, the witness who is the third witness in the criminal trial stated that upon investigation on how the money was spent, it was discovered that the monies were diverted into the Amosu’s Oil and Gas firms.

The oil and gas firms which the monies were diverted are: Right Option Oil and Gas Limited, Delfina Oil and Gas Limited, Mcallan Oil and Gas Limited, and Deegee Oil and Gas Limited.

However, an attempt by the witness to give details on the documents was opposed by the lawyers representing the accused persons.

The accused persons’ lawyers led by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, Kemi Balogun, Norrison Quakers, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), argued that the witness is not the maker of the exhibits tendered, neither did he confirm the authentication of the documents from the maker, therefore, he cannot give evidence on the exhibits.

However, the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, while urging the court to discountenance the objection raised by the defence, told the court that the witness is an Investigating Officer, who investigated the alleged crime, so he can give evidence on the exhibits (documents) tendered.

The matter has been adjourned till Thursday for ruling on whether the witness can give evidence on the documents tendered or not, and for continuation of trial of accused persons.

It would be recalled that the accused persons were first arraigned before the court on June 29, on 23 counts charge bordering on Fraud, money laundering, and stealing.

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