The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Thursday closed its case against a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Paul Usoro,SAN.
Usoro is standing trial before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos for an alleged N1.4billion fraud.
The EFCC charged Usoro with a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering.
He was first arraigned on December 18, 2018 before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos and was later re-arraigned on March 1, 2019 before Justice Aikawa.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Paul Usoro, SAN, Emmanuel Udom (currently constitutionally immune against criminal prosecution), Uwemedimo Thomas Nwoko (still at large), Nsikan Linus Nkan, Commissioner of Finance, Akwa Ibom State (still at large), Mfon Jacobson Udomah, Accountant-General, Akwa Ibom State (still at large) and Margaret Thompson Ukpe (still at large), sometime in 2015 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of N1,410,000,000.00 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ten Million Naira), property of the Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charge preferred against him.
At Thursday’s sitting, counsel to the EFCC, Uduak Kufre who asked Justice Rilwan Aikawa to discharge the witness also told the court that the commission was pleased with the evidence it had put forward in the case.
The EFCC had called Idongesit Udom, a deputy manager at Zenith Bank as it’s a first witness and Abdulrahman Arabo, the investigating officer as its second and final witness.
After discharging the witness and closing its case, the stage was set for the defendant to put in his defence but counsel to the former NBA President, Mr Effiong Effiong, SAN, has told the court of the defendant’s intention to file a ‘no case’ submission
Justice Aikawa, thereafter, adjourned till March 12, 2021 for adoption of the no-case submission.