A prosecution witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) explained to the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos how funds paid into the Nigerian Air Force’s (NAF) Special Emergency Operation account with Zenith Bank Plc. were transferred to Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd. and Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd.
These companies were charged along with the former Chief of Army Staff, Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu; the former NAF Chief of Accounts, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun; and the former NAF Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo, for fraud.
The witness, Tosin Owobo, who is the Deputy Detective Superintendent officer with the EFCC, said Mr. Amosu wrote to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) itemizing the need for maritime security and made a proposal for about N4 billion to fund the project.
He alleged that former Director General of NIMASA Patrick Akpobolokemthe subsequently released the sum of N3 billion, paid in three trenches, for the purpose, but the money was moved out to private accounts a few days after the payment.
“The money was paid in three installments of one billion [naira] each. We discovered that as this money came in, they were diverted to various oil and gas companies. These accounts were identified from the NAF account statement,” Mr. Owobo said.
He added that this prompted the agency to conduct further investigations into the accounts the money was transferred into.
It would be recalled that the three naval officers and some companies were arraigned before Justice Muhammed Idris on Wednesday, 29 June 2016 for a 29-count charge brought before them by the EFCC. They pleaded not guilty and were released on bail with some conditions.
A few weeks into the trial, the embattled air marshals opted for plea bargains but backed out because of the terms put forward by the anti-graft agency.
The trial continues tomorrow, 26 January 2017.