A 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 N22.8 billion fraud.
Mr. Amosun is charged alongside two other officers of the Air Force – Jacob Adigun and 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, EFCC.
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.
Mr. Idris had granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each with two sureties each in like sum.
Before the court adjourned on Wednesday, EFCC’s lawyer, 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, Bolaji Ayorinde 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.
After the ruling, the prosecutor commenced examination of witnesses and tendered some documents in evidence.
The defence counsel had begun a perusal of some of the documents, but the prosecutor urged the court to order parties to compare documents for a hitch-free proceeding.
The court adjourned until October 3 and 4 for continuation of trial.
The accused were alleged to have indirectly converted the sum of N3.6 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air force to their own use.
The EFCC accused Mr. Amosun and others of stealing about N323 million from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force between March 21, 2014 and March 12, 2015 for the purpose of purchasing for themselves a property situated at No.1, River Street, Wuse II, Abuja.
The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.