A second prosecution witness at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State, has said that a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro, SAN, paid the sum of N65million into the bank account of Uwemedimo Nwoko, the Attorney- General, Akwa-Ibom State.

The witness, Abdulrahman Arabo, told Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the FHC, Ikoyi that Usoro was first arraigned on December 18, 2018, before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court.

Paul-Usoro

He was later re-arraigned on March 1, 2019, before Justice Aikawa on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.4billion brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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 N1,410,000,000,000.

"Also, the 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."

Usoro had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

See Also Corruption Money Laundering: Witness Reveals How Ex-NBA President, Usoro Received N1.1bn From Akwa Ibom Govt

At today's sitting, Arabo, an investigator with the EFCC, told the court that Nwoko ignored the EFCC's invitation when he was invited to corroborate the claims of the defendant that the sum of N65million paid into his account was payment for lawyers, who handled the election tribunal matter in court.

According to a statement from the EFCC, when asked by the defence counsel, O.E.B Offiong(SAN), if he could not have called any of the lawyers who received the money from the Attorney General on account of the defendant, Arabo said: "The Attorney-General was the only one we could call because the money went into his account and it was natural to invite him as the sole signatory to the account."

Arabo, during cross-examination, further told the court that though the EFCC had written letters to the Secretary to the State Government of Akwa-Ibom state requesting the release of certain officials, the Attorney-General was, at that time, not included because the need had not arisen.

He added, "However when he was needed, he failed to show up."

Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to January 20 and 21, 2021 for the continuation of trial.

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