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A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed May 12 for the trial of the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, and others charged with stealing.
Abdulsalam is charged alongside six others over alleged stealing and diversion of the agency’s money amounting to N6.8 billion.
The other suspects are: Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, Joy Adegorite, and two Limited Liability companies, Randville Investment Ltd and Multeng Travels and Tours Ltd. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting them.
When the case was called yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that his witnesses were present in court. He reminded the court that the case was adjourned to April 27 and April 28 for trial, adding that the prosecution was ready to proceed with the trial.
Meanwhile, counsel to the accused, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), opposed the prayer for the commencement of trial on the grounds that he needed time to converse with his client. He also pointed out that he had not had enough time to examine the proof of evidence, so as to enable him prepare for trial.
The counsel, consequently, urged the court to grant an adjournment in favour of the accused, in the interest of Justice. Therefore, Justice Babs Kuewumi adjourned the case to May 12 for trial, while he vacated the previous date of April 28. It will be recalled that the EFCC had on April 7, arraigned the NAMA boss, three directors of the agency and the wife of one of the directors, before the court.
They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge. The charge was subsequently amended to include three more accused persons, and all accused persons where re-arraigned on April 12. They again, pleaded not guilty to the charge, and were granted bail in the sum of N20 million, with two sureties each in like sum.
In the charge, the EFCC alleged that on Aug. 19, 2013, the accused conspired to induce NAMA to deliver the sum of N2.8 billion to Delosa Ltd, Air Sea Delivery Ltd and Sea Schedules Systems Ltd. It was alleged that the delivery was under the pretence that the money represented the cost of clearing NAMA’s consignments.
It was also alleged that between Jan. 2 and Dec. 17, 2013, the suspects allegedly converted N191 million belonging to NAMA to themselves.
They were said to have also diverted N728 million between 2013 and 2015, as well as other sums. The alleged offence is said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3).