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Tuesday, 18 December 2018

EFCC Files Charges Against Akwa Ibom Governor, NBA President

EFCC Files Charges Against Akwa Ibom Governor, NBA President

Governor Emmanuel Udom

– The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed fraud charges against the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Emmanuel Udom, and several members of his cabinet.

Udom was charged in a case involving the President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, but was
described in the charge as being “currently constitutionally immune from prosecution”.

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Usoro, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges bordering on N1.4 billion fraud filed in a case before Justice Muslim Hassan at a Federal High Court Lagos.

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

The cabinet members are said to be at large.

In the charge marked FHC/418c/18, the antigraft agency alleged that Usoro committed the offence on May 14, 2016.

It alleged that he conspired with others to criminally convert a N1.4 billion property of Akwa Ibom government.

The prosecution said that the unlawful activity include criminal breach of trust which contravenes the provisions of section 15 (2), 15(3), and 18 (A) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

On Tuesday, Rotimi Oyedepo, appeared for the EFCC, while Wole Olanipekun appeared with six other senior advocates for Usoro.

Oyedepo told the court that the anti graft agency had successfully served the criminal charge on the accused on Dec. 10, and sought leave of court for the plea of accused to be taken.

After his plea, Olanipekun moved a bail application on behalf of the accused, urging the court to admit him to bail on liberal terms of self recognisance as president of the NBA.

Besides, he added that the international passport of the accused be deposited with the court as a measure, adding that he will apply for same whenever the need arises.

The prosecutor did not oppose the application, but left same at the discretion of the court.

The court admitted Usoro to bail in the sum of N250 million, with one surety in like sum.

The court added that the surety must be the owner of a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction, or a civil servant not lower than the rank of a Director in the Federal or State civil service.

The court ordered that the accused’s international passport also be deposited with the court’s registry which will be verified if genuine.

The court then ordered that Usoro be handed over to a counsel of the inner bar, E.B Effiong (SAN), pending perfection of his bail terms and adjourned the case until February 5, March 5, and March 6, 2019 for trial.

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