Court dismisses corruption charges against Usoro

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed the N1.4billion money laundering charge brought against a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association NBA, Mr Paul Usoro, SAN, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa upheld the defendant’s no-case submission and proceeded to discharge and acquit Usoro on all the 10 counts contained in charge filed against him by the anti-graft agency.

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Justice Aikawa held that the prosecution established none of the ingredients of the offences where EFCC accused the former NBA President of laundering N1.4b paid to his law firm by Akwa Ibom State Government for series of legal services rendered to the state.

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At the trial, the prosecution called two witnesses and tendered 24 exhibits in support of its case of money laundering and criminal breach of trust.

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When the prosecution closed its case on February 18. 2021 Usoro’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, opted for a no-case submission, arguing that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant to warrant him being called upon to enter a defence.

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Justice Aikawa, in his ruling on Friday, upheld the defendant’s argument that the alleged offences are not known to law in existence in Lagos and Akwa-Ibom states.

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The judge proceeded to strike out all the counts as contained in the charge and held that the EFCC failed to establish its case against the defendant as required by law. He dismissed the charges and proceeded to discharge and acquit the defendant.

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