Three of those currently being tried by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on corruption charges have reportedly expressed eagerness to return their alleged loot – cash and property, to escape jail time.
Citing a source at the EFCC, The Nation reports that the anti-graft agency has received requests to refund ‘stolen funds’ from former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh, ex-Chiefs of Air Staff Air MarshalsAdeshola Amosu and Mohammed Umar.
Metuh is on trial for collecting N400 million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki – the cash believed to be part of the diverted $2.1 billion meant to procure arms for the military.
Umar was arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption of about N9.7 billion.
While Amosu was arraigned at a Federal High Court in Lagos alongside Air Vice marshal (AVM) Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga, on a 26-count of siphoning about N50 billion.
“We have formally received letters of plea bargain from three accused persons — Metuh, Umar and Amosu— we are studying their terms,” the source told the newspaper on Tuesday, July 20.
“We may enter into a plea bargain with the accused persons if it will serve the public interest. The interest is getting back the stolen funds. If they can fulfill this condition (public interest), we may accept their offers.”
The details of the request was, however, not revealed, as the source stressed that the EFCC is still studying them.
It was also gathered that the Commission has stepped up security around its key witnesses against suspects on trial for the $2.1 billion arms deals scandal following threats to life from unknown persons.
The witnesses being threatened are those against a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, ex-Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, and ex-Chiefs of Air Staff Amosu and Umar, including Metuh’s.
Most of the witnesses are said to be from the account, procurement, and audit units of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Air Force, the Army, and some government departments.