EFCC arraigns NBA President for allegedly laundering N1.4b


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arraigned the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) before a Federal High Court in Lagos south west Nigeria for allegedly laundering N1.4 billion.
He pleaded not guilty to all the 10-count charge.

Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) appearing for Usoro had earlier expressed his opposition to his client’s arraignment over the criminal charge.
He told the Presiding Judge, Justice Muslim Hassan that a letter had been written by the NBA President to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul-Kafarati seeking the transfer of the case from the court.
“I owe it a duty to advise the court that the defendant made available to his lawyers, a copy of a letter dated 17th December, 2018, addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court praying for the transfer of the case to any judicial Division of either Uyo or Abuja and if in Lagos to any other judge apart from the presiding judge.
“The application is very important and was written by virtue of the legal right of the defendant.
“We understand that a copy of the letter has been served on the court and since the letter is before the Chief Judge, the proper thing is to await the decision of the chief Judge decision as a mark of respect for him”, Olanipekun said.
In his response, EFCC’s lawyer, Barrister Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to discountenance Olanipekun’s submissions.
He said the ruling of the court fixing the day is for the arraignment of the defendant and has not been set aside.
He said the defence can only raise any objection after the plea of the defendant has been taken.
“It was not the contention of the defence that the ingredient of the alleged offence did not take place in Lagos. The events that will lead to the transfer of the case to either Uyo or Abuja Division are not available”, he said.
In his ruling, Justice Hassan held that arraigning the defendant will not preclude the Chief Judge from taking decision on the letter.
He thereafter ordered that the charge be read to the defendant.
Thereafter, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) moved his bail application. He urged the court to admit the accused to bail on self-recognizance
The prosecution did not raise any objection and the judge admitted Usoro to bail in the sum of N250 million with one surety who must not be below the rank of a Director in the public service in like sum.
The judge also adjourned the matter till 5th of February.
Justice Hassan also ordered the NBA president to submit his international passport to the court.
The charge filed against Paul Usoro is as stated below.
COUNT ONE
That you, PAUL USORO SAN EMMANUEL UDOM (CURRENTLY CONSTUTIONALLY IMMUNED AGAINST CRIMINAL PROSECUTION) UWEMEDIMO THOMAS NWOKO (STILL AT LARGE), MFON JACOBSON UDOMAH (ACCOUNT GENERAL OF AKWA IBOM STATE) (STILL AT LARGE) AND MARGARENT THOMPSON UKPE (STILL AT LARGE) sometimes 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 N1,410,000,000,000.00 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ten Million, Naira) property of Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, which sum you reasonably ought to have knows 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.
COUNT TWO
That you, PAUL USORO SAN, EMMANUEL UDOM(CURRENTLY CONSTUTIONALLY IMMUNED AGAINST CRIMINAL PROSECUTION ), UWEMEDIMO THOMAS NWOKO(STIL AT LARGE), NSIKAN LINUS NKAN, (COMISSIONER OF FINANCE AKWA IBOM STATE) (STILL AT LARGE). MFON JACOBSON UDOAH (ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF AKWA IBOM STATE) (STILL AT LARGE AND MARGARET THOMPSON UKPE (STIL AT LARGE) on or about the 14TH DAY OF March, 2016 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court Disguised the origin of the sum of N 300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira). Property of Government of Akwa ibom forms of Nigeria which sum you reasonably act to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
COUNT THREE
PAUL USORO SAN, EMMANUEL UDOM (CURRENTLY CONSTUTIONALLY IMMUNED AGAINST CRIMINAL PROSECUTION), UWEMEDIMO THOMAS NWOKO (STIL AT LARGE), NSIKAN LINUS NKAN, (COMISSIONER OF FINANCE AKWA IBOM STATE) (STILL AT LARGE). MFON JACOBSON UDOAH (ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF AKWA IBOM STATE) (STILL AT LARGE AND MARGARET THOMPSON UKPE (STIL AT LARGE) on or about the 14TH DAY OF March, 2016 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court Disguised the origin of the sum of N 300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira). Property of Government of Akwa Ibom forms of Nigeria which sum you reasonably act to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
COUNT FOUR
PAUL USORO SAN, EMMANUEL UDOM (CURRENTLY CONSTUTIONALLY IMMUNED AGAINDT CRIMINAL PROSECUTION), UWEMEDIMO THOMAS NWOKO (STIL AT LARGE), NSIKAN LINUS NKAN, (COMISSIONER OF FINANCE AKWA IBOM STATE) (STILL AT LARGE). FON JACOBSON UDOAH(ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF AKWA IBO STATE) (STILL AT LARGE AND MARGARET THOMPSON UKPE (STIL AT LARGE) on or about the 14TH DAY OF March, 2016 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court Disguised the origin of the sum of N 300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira). Property of Government of Akwa Ibom forms of Nigeria which sum you reasonably act to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
COUNT FIVE
That you PAUL USORO,SAN on or about the 14TH day of March, 2016 in Nigeria within jurisdiction of this Honourable Court used the total sum of N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira), property of Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms parts of the proceeds of unlawful act wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (prohibition ) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
COUNT SIX
That you PAUL USORO,SAN on or about the 14th day of March, 2016 in Nigeria within jurisdiction of this Honourable Court retained the total sum of N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira), property of Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria in your Paul Usoro& Co ‘s account No1014604466 domicile in Zenith Bank Plc which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms parts of the proceeds of unlawful act wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (prohibition ) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
COUNT SEVEN
That you, PAUL USORO, SAN on or about the day of August, 2015 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court retained the sum of N530, 000,000.00(Five Hundred And Thirty Million Naira) property of government of Akwa Ibom state of Nigeria in Paul Usoro &Company’s Clients account NO. 0690123425 domicile in Access Bank Plc sum you reasonably ought to have known for part of the proceeds of unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust there committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of then money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15(13) of the same Act.
COUNT EIGHT
That you, PAUL USORO, SAN on or about the 18th Day of September, 2015 in Nigeria with the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court retained the sum of N40, 000,000.00 (Forty Million Naira).property of Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria in Paul Usoro & Company ‘s Clients’ account No. 0690123425 domicile in Access Bank Plc which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
COUNT NINE
That you PAUL USORO,SAN on or about the 3rd day of December, 2015 in Nigeria within jurisdiction of this Honourable Court retained the total sum of N260,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Sixty Million Naira), property of Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria in Paul Usoro& Company ‘s account Clients’No0690123425 domicile in Access Bank Plc which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms parts of the proceeds of unlawful act wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (prohibition ) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
COUNT TEN
That you, PAUL USORO,SAN on or about the 27th day of August, 2015 in Nigeria within jurisdiction of this Honourable Court transferred the total sum of N65,000,000.00 (Sixty Five Million Naira),property of Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria in Paul Usoro& Company ‘s account Clients’No.0690123425 domicile in Access Bank Plc to UWEMEDIMO THOMAS NWOKO( HON.ATTRONEY –GENERAL AND COMISSINER OF JUSTICE, AKWA IBOM STATE ) which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms parts of the proceeds of unlawful act wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (prohibition ) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

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