Court Adjourns Arraignment Of NBA President Till December 18

By Biola Adebayo

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday adjourned till December 18,  the arraignment of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), for an alleged N1.4billion fraud.

The presiding Judge, Justice Muslim Hassan fixed the date to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) serve Paul Usoro with the charge sheet for the alleged offences.

Paul Usoro, who appeared in court in person with senior lawyers, had urged the judge through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, to direct the EFCC to serve him in court.

But this was rejected by EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

The EFCC , in a charge, marked FHC/418c/18, alleged that Usoro, from Akwa Ibom, converted and laundered the money in connivance with his state Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

Though the charge sheet, signed by EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, did not list Udom Emmanuel as a defendant.

The EFCC indicated that he is “currently constitutionally immune against criminal prosecution”.

The others listed include Nsikan Nkan, described as Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State; Mfon Udomah, described as the Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, described as the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; and Margaret Ukpe, all of whom are said to be at large.

It alleged that Paul Usoro, in connivance with the others mentioned, conspired to commit the offence “sometime in 2015 within the jurisdiction of this court”.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the N1.4bn belonged to the Akwa Ibom State Government.

According to Barr. Rotimi  Oyedepo, the offences were contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.