Court adjourns N1.4b laundering case against Usoro, others

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has adjourned till April 17 to hear three pending applications in the N1.4 billion money laundering charge against the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Paul Usoro.
In one of the applications, brought pursuant to Section 36(6)(b) & (d) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 379(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Mr Usoro, through his counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, is seeking for an order of the court, directing the EFCC to serve on him a summarised witness statement of evidence of those listed to give evidence in the matter.
In the proof of evidence, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had listed five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), among others, to testify in the matter.
The other application was brought by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko, and three others.
The others are the Commissioner for Finance in the state, Nsikan Nkan; the Accountant General, Mfon Udomah; and a cashier of the state government, Margaret Ukpe.
The application filed by Mike Ozekhome (SAN) on their behalf is asking the court to set aside the bench warrant issued against them.
At the last adjourned date of March 1, Justice Rilwan Aikawa granted the bench warrant at the instance of the EFCC who told the court that the government officials were at large and the warrant was necessary to ensure their presence in court.
The four government officials are charged alongside Mr Usoro on 10 counts of conspiracy and conversion of an alleged N1.4 billion said to be property of the Akwa Ibom State government.
The third application was brought by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, who currently enjoys constitutional immunity from prosecution.
The application was filed on his behalf by his counsel, Dr Charles Mekwunye, to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to proceed with the charge.
In count one, the EFCC alleged that, Paul Usoro, Governor Emmanuel, and the other defendants all conspired to convert the sum of N1.4 billion.
They were alleged to have committed the offence in 2016.

The EFCC said that the defendants all reasonably ought to have known that the sums formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.

News Category: