N22.8bn fraud: Court declines visit to crime scene in ex-NAF boss trial

Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday declined to visit the scene of alleged crime in the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu, over a N22.8bn fraud.

Amosu is charged alongside two other officers of the Air Force: AVM Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga.

Also charged are some companies: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd., Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd., Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd., Trapezites BDC, and Fonds and Pricey Ltd., being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

They were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris on June 26, 2016, and had pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.

Idirs had granted them bail in the sum of N500m each, with two sureties each in like sum.

Before the court adjourned on Wednesday, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had made an oral application urging the court to visit the “locus in quo’’(scene of crime) for the purpose of admitting in evidence various immovable properties allegedly acquired by the accused.

“The defence counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) had opposed the application, arguing that a court’s visit to a “locus is not at large.”

According to him, any visit must be specific, direct and linked to evidences already given in the course of proceedings.

He urged the court to refuse the application.

Ruling on the application on Thursday, Justice Mohammed Idris held that such a visit at this stage of the proceedings was “premature.”

“I find that the circumstances surrounding the application for a locus in quo is immaterial at this stage of the proceedings; a visit to the locus at this stage is premature.

“I hereby refuse the application to conduct such a visit at this stage,’’ he said.

-The Punch

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