Justice Mojisola Olatoregun sitting at a Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of N2.2billion recovered from former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu to the federal government.
The court handed down the order on Wednesday based on an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge ruled that: “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 also granted an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of N190,828,978.15 recovered from a former Nigeria Air Force 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 Punch newspapers so that the respondents or anyone interested can show cause 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.
The judge adjourned until June 29.
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 huge sum of 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 in Victoria Island with N1.5billion.
EFCC said they also bought a property named as Cappadol Mall at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II Abuja, for N750million, as well as a property worth over N1.7billion at Agobogba Street, Parkview, Ikoyi Lagos, using the airforce’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 accused also 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 situated at No. 24 Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja, Lagos.
Count one reads: “That You, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (Rtd), Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, 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 on or about the 5th day of March, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sum of N21,467,634,707.43, property of the Nigerian Air Force, which sum was derived from stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
EFCC said the accused persons converted and concealed the sums, which they “reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: stealing.”
They all pleaded “not guilty.”