A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday fixed June 29 to rule on an application asking the court to visit the scene of the alleged crime (locus in quo) 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 — 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.
Idirs had granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each with two sureties each in like sum.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, made an oral application, urging the court to visit the scene of the crime for the purpose of admitting in evidence various immovable properties allegedly acquired by the accused.
According to the prosecutor, Section 127 of the Evidence Act allows the court to visit the “locus” where oral evidences led in the course of proceedings referred to the existence of a material thing.
In his arguments, Oyedepo read out some of the counts in the charge where properties bought by the accused with proceeds of crime were listed.
He argued that the onus is on the prosecution to prove its case against the accused, adding that the court’s visit to the “locus” is one way it intends to achieve it.
“The purpose of the application is only to allow for the confirmation of the existence of the property in question,”he said.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) 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.
“My lord, I am not yet in possession of the list of specific properties and their addresses, and as such, I don’t think this is an appropriate application.”
Ayorinde argued that a proper foundation had not been laid by the prosecutor for the application to be granted by the court, adding that there is no compelling reason to warrant such a visit.
He said instead of seeking a court’s visit to the scene, the prosecution should rather lead quality evidence with regards to the existence of such property.
After listening to submissions of both parties, Justice Idris fixed June 29 for ruling.
Earlier, a prosecution witness, Mr Tosin Owobo, an Assistant Detective Superintendent with the EFCC, had continued his evidences in court, narrating how several sums of money belonging to the Nigeria Air Force were transferred to the account of one Timsegg Investmen Ltd domiciled at UBA.
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 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.