By Dipo Awojobi – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has released the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and other senior officers arrested over the $2.1bn arms scam.
It was learnt that a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal J.B. Adigun, and former NAF Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore O. O. Gbadebo, were all granted administrative bail alongside Amosu.
It was learnt that the EFCC seized their passports and they were also given the option of returning the money they allegedly stole.
The EFCC had in February seized properties worth over N5bn from the three senior officers.
The properties are located in the Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Badagry areas of Lagos State.
Also, the EFCC recovered N381m from a company in which Amosu’s wife, Omolara, is believed to be a director.
The money was traced from the account of the Nigerian Air Force to the bank accounts of a company.
It was learnt that Amosu’s wife is a signatory to the accounts.
The anti-graft agency also recovered $140,000 from a safe in Amosu’s Badagry home.
A source at the EFCC said that the aim of the commission was to recover looted funds. According to him, those who return stolen funds will be given a soft landing.
The source said, “Amosu, Adigun, Gbadebo and others were released on administrative bail because we are not ready yet to charge them to court. “However, they have been cooperating with us and we have recovered (stolen) funds from them. So, we have asked them to go to enable them to get more money.
“We have released them but we seized the passports of some of them while others were released based on the credibility of their sureties. Also, the holding charge we obtained from the court to keep them in custody had elapsed.
“The reason why we charged Alex Badeh to court is that he has refused to cooperate with us. Even when we searched his house and found $1m, he still denied the ownership of the money. Those who are willing to cooperate can be converted to prosecution witnesses after returning funds. It is the standard practice worldwide.”
Amosu was investigated for his alleged role in the awarding of 10 contracts totalling $930,500,690. He was also accused of paying N4,402,687,569.41 for unexecuted contracts such as the procurement of two used Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at $136,944,000.00, among others
Some other air force officers affected by the probe are AVM A. M. Mamu (Chief of Administration); AVM O.T Oguntoyinbo (former Director of Production, Defence Headquarters); AVM R.A. Ojuawo (Air Officer Tactical Air Command, Makurdi); AVM J.A. Kayode-Beckley(Director, Armament Research in Air Force Research and Development Centre); AVM T. Omenyi (MD, NAF Holdings). They have since been questioned and released.
Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that Amosu had been released.
“Yes, he has been released on administrative bail while investigations continue,” he said.