Three of those on trial for alleged corruption are eager to return their "loot" for freedom. They want to refund cash and surrender property to avoid going to jail, The Nation learnt yesterday.
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) source said that the agency got requests from former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh, ex-Chiefs of Air Staff Air Marshals Adeshola Amosu and Mohammed Dikko Umar.
Metuh is standing trial for allegedly receiving N400 million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki. The cash is believed to be part of the $2.1 billion security fund that was allegedly diverted.
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 N9.7billion.
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 stealing about N50 billion.
The EFCC source added: "We have formally received letters of plea bargain from three accused persons - Metuh, Umar and Amosu- we are studying their terms.
"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."
But he did not specify the details of the request from the accused persons "because we are still studying them".
Also yesterday, it was learnt that following threats from unknown quarters, the EFCC strengthened security for its key witnesses against suspects on trial for the $2.1billion arms deals scandal.
Those affected are witnesses 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 as well as Metuh.
It was learnt that the anti-graft agency has struck an agreement with the police and other security agencies to protect the witnesses.
Most of the witnesses are from the account, procurement, and audit units of ONSA, the Air Force, the Army, and some government departments.
It was learnt that the EFCC was concerned that since the list of all the witnesses has been attached to charge sheets in courts in Abuja and Lagos, the witnesses have become "vulnerable."
The special protective measure took effect for some of the witnesses in the past two weeks.
Apart from attaching riot policemen to some of these witnesses, some of them have been offered accommodation, transportation to and from the court, and feeding.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: "By the new Administration of Criminal Justice Act, we are mandated to attach the list of witnesses to every case.So, we have a long list of witnesses which had become public knowledge. They include account officers, directors of finance and accounts, procurement officers, serving and retired military and security personnel; bank officials and personal aides.
"But some of these witnesses have been receiving threats and have come under pressure to either back out of the cases or frustrate the EFCC. These witnesses have chosen to be patriotic to serve the nation by testifying in courts.
"This was why at a stage, we approached the court to allow some of these witnesses to testify in camera.
"While we are looking into the threats, we have decided to be proactive by protecting these key witnesses, including Air Commodore Salisu Yushau, who has been testifying against Badeh."