Court Clears Former Air Force Chief, Amosu of N21bn Money Laundering Charges

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, February 6th, 2024, quashed the N21.5 billion money laundering charges against former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu.

The charges, brought forth by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), were thrown out by the court, marking a significant victory for Amosun.

The lengthy legal battle stemmed from allegations that Amosun, alongside two other defendants, diverted public funds during his tenure as Air Chief between 2014 and 2015. However, the court, presided over by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, ruled in favor of Amosun, citing insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution.

The EFCC had on June 29, 2016, arraigned Amosu alongside a former Nigeria Air Force Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga, on a 26-count charge.

But they were re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke in a 13-count amended charge marked FHC/L/280C/16 on money laundering to the tune of N21.5bn.

The defendants were prosecuted for alleged conspiracy and conversion of the funds belonging to the NAF to their personal use.

In a ruling on Tuesday on the application filed by the defendants asking the court to quash the charge brought against them, Justice Aneke granted their prayers, by upholding a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case on the grounds that the defendants were serving officers of the military at the time.

Defence counsel had argued that the defendants were, therefore, only subject to trial by a court-martial, since they were still officers during the period

The judge held, “As officers of the armed forces, they ought to have been first investigated by the armed forces and tried rather than charging them before this court.”

He declared the investigation of Amosun dated January 30, 2015, null and void.

Justice Aneke also quashed the amended charges against the defendants.