The cross examination of PW2 in the case of EFCC against Paul Usoro,a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association who is facing trial for receiving his legal fees for legal jobs done for Akwa Ibom state Government (AKSG )and Governor continued today after it was adjourned yesterday.
Just like yesterday’s proceedings which revealed EFCC concealed Usoro’s letter which gave details of about 16 cases the firm handled and some still ongoing for the AKSG for which payments were made. Again EFCC did not tender the AG’s statement or the letters of invitation to the AG which they alleged refused to Honour their invitation. Yesterday,the counsel to the defendant had requested that the prosecution produce the account statement of the AG which was made available today.
The defendant had paid the sum of 65million into the account of the AG and the EFCC has alleged that it was a “kick back” .
However,the defendant had in his statement stated that he had asked the AG to help him assemble some local lawyers in Akwa Ibom State to help him in the cases since he had no office in Akwa Ibom and the money was for the settlement of their legal fees. The AG’s account indeed showed that the named lawyers received payments the following day after the money was paid and the EFCC saw the payments and excluded the statement from the trial.
The defence counsel today tendered it through the witness and it was marked exhibit 17.
When the defence counsel asked the PW2 why he did not take steps to go to the tribunal to confirm if the Akwa Ibom State lawyers recommended by the Attorney General to join Usoro actually did the job,he said that the commission did not find it necessary to do that because they were following the money and not the cases.
The prosecution had tendered Paul Usoro’s account showing that the defendant transferred 65 million to the AG but refused to tender the AG’s account showing how he disbursed the funds to other lawyers. This made the defence counsel ask him why he refused to follow the money paid to the AG to the final recipient being the Akwa state based lawyers since he had said that they were following the money. This would have helped to establish that the money was indeed meant for the purpose claimed.
In the course of the trial, the PW2 repeatedly claimed that the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom has been at large and has refused to honour the invitation to the EFCC however during cross examination , he admitted that the AG has been to their office on the 24th of July 2018 after they discovered the payment made to him but did not question him on it because it wasn’t ripe to do so at the time.
Though the AG visited the commission,the prosecution did not tender any document actually showing that he was invited. The letter from EFCC to the Secretary to the state government written on the 13th of July 2018 asking the Akwa Ibom State government to produce some officials did not include the AG even though the request was made after the said payment was discovered earlier during investigation on the 4th,5th and 6th of June 2018. The said letter was admitted as exhibit 18.
The matter was adjourned to January 21st for continuation of hearing.