The trial of former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, has begun afresh at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Several witnesses had testified in the case over a two-year period, but the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, was elevated to the Court of Appeal last June.
The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Amosu on June 29, 2016 along with former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.
EFCC said the three, on or about March 5, 2014 in Lagos, conspired to convert N21,467,634,707.43, property of NAF, which sum they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activities to wit: criminal breach of trust.
They were alleged to have made several transfers amounting to N21billion to different companies charged with them, such as Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil And Gas Ltd, Lebol Oil and Gas Ltd, Trapezites Bureau De Change, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd and Timsegg Investment Ltd.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the alleged offence which EFCC said contravened Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3).
Testifying before the new judge yesterday, an EFCC investigator, Tosin Owobo, said the defendants allegedly used their companies to divert some of the funds.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, Owobo told the court that NAF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He said NIMASA paid N3billion paid into the NAF Special Emergency Operation Account domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc in three tranches.
According to him, the former air chiefs transferred part of the funds to the some “oil and gas” companies.
He said further investigations revealed that the companies were not into oil and gas businesses.
“As part of the investigation, we invited the Managing Directors of Right Options Oil & Gas, Judah Oil & Gas and Lebol Oil & Gas Limited, who stated in their statements that they were Bureau De Change (BDC) operators and not oil dealers.
“They said when the monies were paid into their accounts, they gave the dollar equivalents to the account officers of NAF Special Emergency Operation Account for the second and third defendants.
“‘They also stated that their companies were registered as oil and gas companies because they were given a high threshold of monies that could be transferred with fewer deductions,” he said.
Otobo said investigations further revealed that certain money that did not originate from NIMASA was paid from other NAF accounts into the NAF Special Emergency Operation Account.
The money, he said, was in turn paid into McAllan Oil & Gas Limited, Delfina Oil & Gas Limited and Trapezites BDC to the tune of about N15billion.
He said investigation revealed how the funds were used to acquire properties in Abuja, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and United Kingdom.
The trial continues Thursday.