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Monday, 13 January 2020

Alleged N1.4bn fraud: Judge’s absence stalls NBA President’s trial

Alleged N1.4bn fraud: Judge’s absence stalls NBA President’s trial

* Case resumes February 11

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday adjourned until Feb. 11, the continuation of the trial of the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro, charged with N1.4billion fraud.

Usoro is 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 Hasssan.

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He also maintained his not guilty plea before Aikawa and was granted bail.

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

The trial will resume on the next date.

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 mentioned are, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance, Nsikan Nkan; Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State, Mfon Udomah; the 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 that the N1.4billion 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 said 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.

(NAN)

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