Absence of witness stalls trial in Synagogue church collapse

By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos

The absence of a prosecution yesterday stalled proceedings into the trial of the Registered Trustees of Synagog Church of All Nations (SCOAN) over the September 12, 2014 collapsed guest house of the church.

The trustees of the church are being prosecuted alongside two engineers Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun and their companies, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited.

At the resumed proceedings yesterday, the Director, Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mrs Idowu Alakija told the court that the sixth prosecution witness who was expected from overseas called them last minute that he was not able to make it.

She therefore requested the court to give them at least one week for the witness to appear before the court.

The defence counsels led by Chief Efe Akpofure, SAN, Titi Akinlanwo, SAN and Olalekan Ojo did not object to the request of the prosecution.

The trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo adjourned the matter till February 17, 2017 for continuation of trial.

The Lagos state government had preferred a 111 count charge against the defendants.

The charges are bordering on criminal negligence, manslaughter and their involvement in the September 12, 2014 collapsed six-storey guest house belonging to the church.

A total of 116 persons, mostly South Africans, died in the incident.

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