The trial of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, is to commence afresh at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Mr Usoro would be re-arraigned on February 14 before Justice Chuks Obiozor on charges bordering on alleged money laundering to the tune of N1.4billion.
His planned re-arraignment followed the failure of the case to continue at the court on Tuesday.
Channels Television had reported on January 14 that the case had been re-assigned to Justice Obiozor.
The Chief Judge of the Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, re-assigned the case from the courtroom of Justice Muslim Hassan after he granted the request of the NBA President for a change of judge.
On December 18, 2018, a former NBA President and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Wole Olanipekun, who led Mr Usoro’s defence team had drawn the court’s attention to a letter written by his client to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, seeking the transfer of the case to another judge in Lagos or to any judicial division between Uyo and Abuja.
After the proceedings of that day, the court had adjourned till February 5 for the continuation of the trial.
When journalists approached the court for coverage of the trial today, they observed that the case was not on the case list neither was the judge available.
Justice Obiozor was said to be away on a workshop.
Channels Television, however, gathered that parties agreed to come before the court on Thursday next week.
Mr Usoro is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 10 counts bordering on fraud.
He was alleged to have conspired with some others to convert the sum of N1.4 billion, property of Akwa Ibom State Government, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activity.
The offence was allegedly committed in May 2016.
The commission also alleged that the NBA President conspired with others to commit the offence within the jurisdiction of the court.
Also named in the charge is the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr Emmanuel Udom, who is described in the charge as being “currently constitutionally immune from prosecution”.
Others charged are the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance, Nsikan Nkan; Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State, Mfon Udomah; the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General, Uwemedimo Nwoko, and Margaret Ukpe.
The defendants were said to be at large.
Mr Usoro had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Justice Hassan subsequently admitted him to bail in the sum of N250 million with one surety in like sum.