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NSA probe: FCT High Court discharges AVM Kayode-Beckley on N10m bribe

Magu

…Vindicates Senate on rejection of Magu

By Sulaiman Danjuma

It was  victory at last for Air Vice Marshal ( AVM) John  Adeniyi Kayode – Beckley, after a-year trial on one count charge at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court last week. A victory reminiscent of his joy on commission as a Pilot Officer into the  Nigerian Air Force (NAF). The freedom for AVM Kayode-Beckley  is among several of the cases EFCC lost  of recent.

This victory also confirmed reckless prosecution of innocent Nigerians which culminated in the the  rejection of the Acting EFCC Chairman Magu for confirmation by the Senate and indictment in a report submitted to the Senate  by the Director of State Security Service (DSS) during screening.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 had arraigned AVM John Adeniyi Kayode-Beckley before Justice Olubunmi Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT)  High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja on one count-charge of bribery to the tune of ten million naira. According to the EFCC, AVM Beckley while serving as the Director of Armament with the Nigerian Airforce allegedly collected the sum of N10million as gratification from a contractor, one Mr. Hima Abubakar, of Societe D’Equipments Internationaux Nig. Ltd.One of the charges reads:

“That you, AVM John Adeniyi Kayode-Beckley whilst serving as Director of Armament, Nigerian Air Force, sometimes in 2015 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did accept a gift in the sum of ten million naira (N10,000,000) from one Mr. Hima Abubakar of Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux Nig Ltd, a contractor with the Nigerian Air Force in performance of your official act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 17(c) of the same act.

Industry analysts said this judgement signals  a big victory against the traditional mindset ingrained in the psychic of  our leaders’ that, after all, ‘ I can do anything and get away with it ‘. “Thank God for democracy, without which AVM Kayode – Beckley would have irretrievably lost his career, like other innocent victims in the time past, “ a security expert said.

After one-year trial, Justice Olubokola Banjoko. FCT High Court 10,Gudu District Abuja in his. Court judgement dismissed, discharged and acquitted AVM Kayode-Beckley. The Judge said it was needless charging him to Court. The  N10 million he was tricked by EFCC to refund to Government was to be returned back to the Senior Officer.

The trial started by the EFCC on June 29, 2016 after AVM J O.N Ode  (retd) investigation panel submitted its report to the President last year.

The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. During the first approaches at FCT High Court, counsel to the EFCC, Cosmas Ugwu asked the court for a date for trial. But, counsel to the accused person, Y. Maikarfi urged the court to grant the accused bail, stating that the accused person had always been present when called upon.

Ugwu kicked on the basis that the accused is on the verge of retirement and therefore may abscond. Justice Banjoko after listening to both arguments, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N10million (ten million naira) with two sureties in like sum. The sureties may be ordinary citizens resident in Abuja.

The case was initially adjourned to September 27, 2016 for trial and subsequent adjournment before the final judgement last week.

The panel had submitted its first interim report in November 2015 while it presented the second report in January 2016 following which  President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate 18 serving and retired military officers, mainly from the Air Force. Those affected in the order included embattled former National Security Adviser, Lt.-Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.); a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.); and two former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Marshal MD Umar (retd.) and Air Marshal Adesola Amosun (retd).

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had disclosed the President’s directive in a statement made available to journalists.

Shehu had listed others that the President asked the EFCC to probe to include: Maj.-Gen. ER Chioba (retd.); AVM IA Balogun (retd.); AVM AG Tsakr (retd.); AVM AG Idowu (retd.); AVM AM Mamu; AVM OT Oguntoyinbo; AVM T Omenyi; AVM JB Adigun; AVM RA Ojuawo; AVM JA Kayode-Beckley; Air Cdre SA Yushau (retd.); Air Cdre AO Ogunjobi; Air Cdre GMD Gwani; Air Cdre SO Makinde; Air Cdre AY Lassa; and Col. N Ashinze.

He added that following the submission of the audit committee’s second interim report, the President had also directed the EFCC to investigate the roles of the officers as well as some companies and their directors in fundamental breaches associated with the procurements by the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian Air Force.

He gave the names of those affected to include:  Messrs Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux; Himma Aboubakar; Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited; Messrs Syrius Technologies; Dr. Theresa A. Ittu; Sky Experts Nig Ltd.; Omenyi Ifeanyi Tony; Huzee Nig. Ltd.; GAT Techno Dynamics Ltd.; Gbujie Peter Obie and Onuri Samuel Ugochukwu.

Others were  Spacewebs Interservices Ltd.; Oguntoyinbo Tayo; Oguntoyinbo Funmi; Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd.; Chief Jacobs Bola; Mono Marine Corporation Nig. Ltd.; Geonel Intergrated Services Ltd.; Sachi Felicia; Mudaki Polycarp and Wolfgang Reinl.

Investigation revealed that the panel, which has AVM J.O.N. Ode (retd.) as  chairman, was dissolved by the National Security Adviser (NSA). It was gathered that among other reasons, the panel, which uncovered alleged $15bn fraud in arms procurement, was scrapped because government believed it had outlived its usefulness.

AVM Kayode Beckley was the former Director of Armament in the NAF. He was alleged to have collected bribe of N10million from the contractor that supplied armament to the NAF.

However, investigation by our correspondent revealed that AVM Kayode-Beckley  who was on trial for one year by the EFCC was not given estacode when  he travelled  to Pakistan where the armament were purchased towards the end of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Efforts to get reaction of the EFCC Spokesman Wilson Ewujaren proved abortive. There was no response to text message by Nigerian NewsDirect.

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