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



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

By Robert Egbe



The trial of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Paul Usoro (SAN) for alleged N1.4 billion fraud could not resume yesterday due to the judge’s absence.

The trial, holding before Justice Mohammed Aikawa, has been adjourned till February 11, 2020.



Usoro is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 10-count charge.

The lawyer was first arraigned before Justice Muslim Hassan in December 2018, and he pleaded not guilty.

The case was re-assigned to Justice Aikawa soon after and Usoro maintained his plea and was granted bail.

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

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Others named in it are: 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 on the run. In the charge, 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 EFCC claimed that the N1.4 billion belonged to the Akwa Ibom State government.

The defendant was alleged to have conspired to convert the money, which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity. The EFCC said the unlawful activity includes criminal breach of trust, which contravenes the provisions of sections 15 (2), 15(3), and 18 (A) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

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

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