The trial of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro (SAN) has started with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), calling its first prosecution witness.
Before this, Justice Rilwan Aikawa had struck out an application filed by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel seeking to stay the proceedings and adjourn indefinitely pending the verdict of the Appeal Court on his challenge to a decision delivered on May 30.
On that day, Justice Aikawa had dismissed the governor’s application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the money laundering charge filed against the NBA President.
Justice Aikawa held that Governor Udom’s application lacked merit because he was not a party to the suit.
After resisting the move to adjourn the proceedings, the court ordered the EFCC to call its first prosecution witness.
The First Prosecution Witness, Udom Idongesit, a Relationship Manager with Zenith Bank, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State told the court how she came to open an account for the defendant, Mr Paul Usoro.
She testified that in March 2016, her bank was given withdrawal instruments of N700m from the impress account of the state government.
According to her, N300m out of the money was signed for and collected by Margaret Thompson Ukpe, an employee of the state government.
The court admitted in evidence the Zenith Bank withdrawal instruction documents and the account opening documents.
A move by the prosecution to get the witness to read out certain portions of the document was resisted by the defense team who insisted that the document speaks for itself.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the NBA President, Offiong Offiong (SAN), told the court that he had not been served some documents he requested for from the prosecution to enable him to prepare adequately for the defence.
Subsequently, the court adjourned till October 21 for the continuation of the trial.