Trials of NBA President, Fayose Adjourned
NBA President, Paul Usoro’s Trial Adjourned to April 17
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.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
Fayose’s Trial Adjourned to March 19
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday, March 18, 2019, adjourned further hearing in the trial of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
Fayose was arraigned along with his company, Spotless Investment Limited, on October 22, 2018 on an 11-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering to the tune of N2.2 billion.
He is facing trial in connection with the sums of N1.299 billion and $5.3 million out of the N4.65 million slush funds allegedly shared by the then National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
At today’s sitting, the court could not continue with the cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, owing to the absence of the counsel to the second defendant, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, in court.
Ahmed Mustafa, who stood in for Ojo, told the court that he was “a little indisposed and could not appear in court.”
Earlier in the proceedings, the court admitted in evidence the extra-judicial statement of the late Justin Eruka, a former aide to Obanikoro.
At the last adjourned sitting on February 7, 2019, counsel to the second defendant, Spotless Investment Limited, Olalekan Ojo SAN, had moved a motion seeking the court to accept the statement of the deceased as evidence.
The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had, however, objected to the admissibility of the document, arguing that the statement was not admissible in law.
“The maker of the document is dead; so, the defence only wanted to smuggle the document to the court,” he said.
Justice Olatoregun had, therefore, adjourned to today for ruling on the application.
Ruling today, Justice Olatoregun held that: “Given the fact that the maker of the document is late does not make the document irrelevant to the case before this court.
“The document is relevant to this case and I, therefore, admit the document in evidence.”
The case was thereafter, adjourned to tomorrow, March 19, 2019 for continuation of cross-examination of Obanikoro.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
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