The Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) opened the prosecution’s case today at the Federal High Court,Lagos in the trial of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association and Federal Government of Nigeria over the legal fees he received for legal services rendered to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
The 1st Prosecution witness ,Udom Idong esiet,from Zenith Bank ,Akkaa road Uyo told the court that she was on a marketing call at the state house when she overheard the Governor and Accountant General of Akwa Ibom State talking about the transfer of N700,000,000 to Paul Usoro and co.
She told the court that her Job required information so when she eavesdropped on the discussion,she rushed to check if the defendant had an account with Zenith bank. When she didn’t find any account,she rushed to put papers together to open an account for the Defendant .
Counsel to Paul Usoro ,Offiong Offiong SAN raised an objection when the prosecution counsel tried to cross examine his witness on the content of documents tendered. She will continue her evidence on the next adjourned date.
Meanwhile,before the trial commenced,counsel to the Governor of Akwa Ibom brought a motion for stay of Proceedings on the ground that an appeal has been entered and a stay filed at the court of Appeal.
The court rose and reconvened to deliver a ruling dismissing the motion.
Counsel to the Defendant,Offiong Offiong SAN reminded the court that the EFCC was still in disobedience of a court order which mandated them to make available documents to the defendant to enable them defend the suit.
He brought to the attention of the Judge,the ruling of the court to the effect that the court will dismiss the charge if the EFCC failed to comply. He also urged the court to grant an adjournment so that EFCC will comply accordingly.
The court in response to that request refused to strike out the charge as ruled and refused to adjourn the commencement of trial on the grounds that since the defendant will need the documents for cross examination,it will not affect the examination in Chief.
Offiong Offiong submitted to the court that he will need that part of the proof of evidence to be able to follow the proceedings during the examination in Chief .
The court ruled against him and ordered the Prosecution to open his case.
In another development prior to the matter today, the defendant subpoened EFCC and gave them a notice to produce some of the documents EFCC excluded from the proof of evidence. The EFCC evaded the service of the subpoena both in their Lagos and Abuja office.The court sheriff filed an affidavit of non service.
The matter had been adjourned to 21st and 31st of October for continuation of trial.