Alleged N22.8bn Fraud: Court Declares Visit to Amosu’s Scene of Crime Premature

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A Federal High Court in Lagos thursday refused an application urging it to conduct a visit to the scene of alleged crime, in the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu over N22.8 billion fraud.

Amosun is charged alongside two other officers of the Air Force – Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga

Also charged are some companies, namely: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, and Fonds and Pricey Ltd.

The accused are 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.
Idris had granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each, with two sureties each in like sum.

At the last adjourned date (yesterday) EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had made an oral application urging the court to visit the “locus in quo” for the purpose of admitting in evidence, various immovable properties allegedly acquired by the accused.
“A locus in quo” is a legal term used to describe a visit to the scene of an alleged crime or where an immovable property of an alleged crime reside.

In opposition, defence counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), had argued that a court’s visit to a “locus” is not at large.
According to him, any visit must be specific, direct and linked to evidence already given in the course of proceedings.
He had urged the court to refuse the application.

Delivering his ruling on the application thursday, Justice Idris held that such 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 visit at this stage,” he held.
After the ruling, the prosecutor had commenced examination of its witness, and had tendered some document in evidence.

Defence counsel had began a perusal of some of the document but shortly along the line, the prosecutor urged the court to order parties to compare document so as to allow for a free flow of proceedings without hiccups.
The court has adjourned until October 3 and 4 for continuation of trial.

The charges against the accused borders on conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
In one of the counts, the accused were said to have indirectly converted the sum of N3.6 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air force, to their own use.

In another instance, the EFCC alleged that Amosu and the others stole over N323 million from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force between March 21, 2014 and March 12, 2015.

He said the alleged theft was for the purpose of purchasing for themselves a property situated at No.1, River Street, Wuse II Abuja.
The alleged offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.