Court acquits Usoro, former NBA president, of N1.4bn fraud charge

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has discharged and acquitted Paul Usoro, the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), of the money laundering charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ruling on a no-case submission filed by the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Rilwan Aikawa, presiding judge, held that the charges against the defendant were defective as they did not disclose offences known to both Lagos and Akwa Ibom states.

The EFCC had accused Usoro of laundering N1.4bn belonging to Akwa Ibom, his state of origin.

Although initially arraigned on a 10-count charge, a court of appeal had struck out four of the counts in which Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom state governor, was mentioned.

Usoro had pleaded not guilty to the charges after which the EFCC called two witnesses and tendered some documents to prove the charges.

At the close of the prosecution’s case, Usoro, rather than enter his defence, filed a no-case submission, through his legal team, headed by Effiong Effiong.

He contended that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against him to warrant him to put in any defence.

The court agreed with the defendant’s argument and discharged him.

 

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