Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday, adjourned further hearing in an alleged N21billion fraud trial involving a former Chief of Air Staff, Adesina Amosu to December 17, 2018.
Mr Amosu is standing trial alongside Air Vice Marshall Jacobs Adigun, a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting and Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni, a former Director of Finance and Budget, on an amended 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy and conversion to personal use of the sum of N21bn belonging to the Nigeria Air Force, NAF.
In a statement by the acting Head, Media & Publicity of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Tony Orilade, said at Monday’s sitting, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, sought the leave of the court to tender all the statements of the defendants made to the EFCC.
He said the statements, which were tendered through a prosecution witness, Tosin Owobo, had been marked as exhibits before the former trial Judge, Justice Muhammed Idris.
However, counsel to the defendants, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, opposed the application of the prosecution to tender the defendants’ statements on the grounds that they were made at the EFCC office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.
Bolaji also told the court that the statements by the defendants were extra-judicial in nature and that admitting them as evidence would contradict the maker.
Bolaji further argued that neither the prosecution nor the defence could use the statement of the defendants for defence.
He, therefore, prayed the court not to admit the statement of the defendants as exhibits and also urged the court to reject them.
He also objected to the admissibility of the statements of the defendants, saying it amounted to the constitutional breach of their rights.
The defence counsels argued that the defendants were not allowed to go with their counsels when they made the statements to the Commission.
They also told the court that the witness had not laid any foundation regarding how the statements were extracted from the defendants.
They, therefore, prayed the court to reject them.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, moved an application to withdraw the statements of the second and third defendants.
However, counsels to the second and third defendants objected to the application of the prosecution to withdraw the statements.
They also prayed the court to mark and reject the statements of the second and third defendants.
In his response, Oyedepo further told the court that the first defendant, Amosu, did not raise the issue that his statement was not taken voluntarily.
Mr Oyedepo told the court that the witness had the right to tender all the documents, which were made to him as the investigating officer in the course of his investigation.
Mr Oyedepo also argued that the prosecution had not departed from his case, arguing that Amosu’s statement was relevant to both the prosecution and defence.
He, therefore, prayed the court to admit the first defendant’s statement in evidence.
However, Bolaji argued that Amosu’s statement had no bearing with the witness and drew the attention of the court to the fact that the matter is a joint trial.
Justice Aneke, after listening to the submissions of the counsels, adjourned the matter to December 17, 2018 for ruling and continuation of trial.