Usoro’s trial waits till February

The Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned the trial of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro till February 11.

He was charged with N1.4 billion fraud, and being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before Justice Rilwan Aikawa on 10 counts.

Usoro was first arraigned before Justice Muslim Hassan in December 2018 but the case was re-assigned to Justice Rilwan Aikawa. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges before Justice Aikawa. He also maintained his not guilty plea before Justice Hassan and was granted bail.

The continuation of the trial which was earlier fixed for Monday has now been shifted to February 11, as Justice Aikawa did not sit.

Also mentioned in the charge is the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, who is described as being “currently constitutionally immune from prosecution”.

Others are the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance, Nsikan Nkan; Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State, Mfon Udomah; Akwa Ibom Attorney-General, Uwemedimo Nwoko, and Margaret Ukpe.

The aforementioned names were described in the charge as being at large.

In the charge marked FHC/418c/18, the anti-graft agency alleged that the defendant committed the offence on May 14, 2016. Usoro was alleged to have conspired with others to commit the offence within the jurisdiction of the court.

The commission said the N1.4 billion belonged to the Akwa Ibom State Government.

 

The defendant was alleged to have conspired to convert the said sum, which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activity.

The prosecution added that the unlawful activity included criminal breach of trust which contravened the provisions of Section 15 (2), 15(3), and 18 (A) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

 

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