A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and his colleagues, who are facing trial for alleged diversion of N21.4bn budgeted for security operations, have again indicated their intention to enter into a plea bargain with the government.
Their lawyers – Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN) and Mr Wale Taiwo (SAN) – on Tuesday, urged Justice C.J. Aneke, who is hearing the case at the Federal High Court in Lagos, to adjourn in order for them to explore a plea bargain with the government.
Tuesday was the third time the defendants would be proposing a plea bargain with government since June 2016 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charged them to court.
They first proposed a plea bargain on July 8, 2016, weeks after the EFCC arraigned them before Justice Mohammed Idris.
But when they returned to court on October 20, 2016, rather than present the terms of settlement to the judge, the EFCC opened its case by calling its first witness.
It was learnt that the defendants were scared off by the conditions imposed on them by the EFCC.
But they later abandoned the proposed plea bargain and opted for full-scale trial.
When the defence counsel made a fresh request for plea bargain on Tuesday, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, said though the anti-graft agency was ready to prove the charges against them and had all its witnesses ready, it welcomed the plea bargain proposal if the defendants were serious.
The EFCC had on January 16, 2019 obtained a court order permanently forfeiting to the Federal Government a sum of N2.2bn recovered from Amosu and another N101m recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to him.
The judge ordered that the funds should be paid into the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Upon the fresh plea bargain proposition by the defence counsel on Tuesday, Justice Aneke adjourned the case till May 22.