A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, presided over by Justice Rilwan Aikawa has adjourned the trial of Paul Usoro (SAN), President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), until April 17, 2019 for hearing of three pending applications.
The applications are a Motion on Notice brought by Usoro, pursuant to Section 36(6)(B)(D) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 379(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), seeking an order of the court directing the complainant to serve on him a summarised witness statement of evidence of those listed to give evidence on the matter.
The other application was brought by Uwemedimo Nwoko, the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, and three others.
Their application filed by Mike Ozekhome (SAN) on their behalf prays the court to set aside the bench warrant issued against them.
On March 1, 2019, Justice Rilwan Aikawa granted a bench warrant for the arrest of Uwemedimo Nwoko, the Akwa Ibom Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; Nsikan Nkan, the state Commissioner of Finance; Mfon Udomah, the state Accountant General, and Margaret Ukpe, a cashier of the state government.
The third application was brought by Dr. Charles Mekwunye, counsel to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to proceed with the entertainment of the charge.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed a N1.4billion money laundering charge against the NBA President and others before Justice Muslim Hassan, who later recused himself from the matter on account of being a former prosecutor with the anti-graft agency.
Usoro was thereafter re-arraigned before Justice Aikawa on March 1, 2019.
He pleaded not guilty and had consistently maintained that the funds received from the state government were his professional fees.