Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has adjourned the N1.4 billion fraud trial of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN, to April 17, 2019.
Usoro was charged along with Nsikan Nkan, Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance; Mfon Udomah, Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State and Margaret Ukpe (who are all at large) on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering.
At today’s sitting, March 18, 2019, the first defendant, Usoro, in an application, sought an order of the court directing the prosecution to serve on him a “summarized witness statement of evidence of those listed to give evidence in the matter.”
Usoro’s co-defendants, through their counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, want the court to set aside the warrant of arrest issued against them. In another application brought by Dr. Charles Mekwunye, counsel to the governor of Akwa Ibom State, the applicant challenged the jurisdiction of the court to proceed with the hearing of the charges.
Consequently, Justice Aikawa adjourned for hearing of the pending applications. It will be recalled that Usoro was first arraigned before Justice M.S. Hassan, who later opted out of the matter. The defendant had alleged that Justice Hassan would be biased, having been a former employee of the EFCC.
Usoro was, thereafter, re-arraigned before Justice Aikawa on March 1, 2019.