NBA ELECTIONS: EFCC GRILLS MAHMOUD, YADUDU TODAY

The last may not have been heard on the controversial Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will today grill former NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN and Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) Chairman, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu on their roles in the elections. Also to answer queries from a battery of EFCC operatives is ECNBA Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Agoro.

According to an impeccable source who is familiar with the investigation, though the EFCC operatives had earlier scheduled to interview the trio before now, they had requested that the interviews be done in Abuja.

“EFCC turned down the request,” the source told CITY LAWYER. “Instead, it opted to reschedule the interviews to Friday, 24th January, 2019.”

CITY LAWYER also gathered that the anti-graft agency has invited over 50 other lawyers from several NBA branches to its office in its bid to unravel allegations of rigging and sundry infractions during the elections. The investigation is being conducted by EFCC’s Cybercrime Unit.

It is recalled that the EFCC had barely a month after the elections requested a certified true copy of the list of eligible voters for the poll from CHAMS Plc, one of the ICT firms that conducted the elections.

In a letter to the ICT company dated 10th September, 2018 with reference number CR:3000/EFCC/LS/STF/STF3NBA/VOL.7/382, the EFCC stated: “This commission is investigating a case of conspiracy and Cyber Crime in respect of the above-mentioned election featured.”

Signed by its Zonal Head, Mr. Akaninyene Ezima and titled “Investigation activities, Re: 2018 Nigeria Bar Association elections,” EFCC stated that the request was made pursuant to Section 38(1) of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 and Section 21 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended.

In the letter to the managing director of CHAMS Plc, the anti-graft agency further stated: “In view of the above, you are requested to avail us with certified true copy of the list of all eligible voters to include but not limited to Name(s), Phone Number(s), Email Address(es), Branch(es) and Voters ID.

“Any other information that may assist the Commission in its investigation.”

Mr. Paul Usoro SAN was declared elected as NBA President by the ECNBA. Usoro polled 4, 509 votes to beat Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN who scored 4, 423 votes while Prof. Ernest Ojukwu (SAN) polled 3, 313 votes. Both Obi Okafor and Ojukwu rejected the results, alleging that irregularities marred the elections.

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‘STEP ASIDE NOW,’ OJUKWU TELLS USORO

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) chieftain, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has asked NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN to “step aside” from the exalted office and face the charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Continue Reading

BREAKING: SANs THWART EFCC’S BID TO ARREST USORO

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have failed failed to arrest Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN today. Also, the arraignment earlier scheduled for today could not hold. Continue Reading

BREAKING: FRAUD CHARGE – USORO SHUNS EFCC

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN may have called the bluff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on service of the fraud charge on him. Continue Reading

FRAUD CHARGE: WE MUST STOP EFCC, SAYS USORO

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) has urged lawyers to rise against the alleged incursion into the legal profession by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Continue Reading

BREAKING: EFCC TO ARRAIGN USORO DEC 10 OVER N1.4 BN FRAUD

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed a N1.4 billion fraud charge against the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), at the the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Justice Muslim Hassan fixed December 10, 2018 for the EFCC to arraign Usoro, THE NATION reports.

The anti-graft agency, in a charge marked FHC/418c/18, alleged that Usoro, from Akwa Ibom, converted and laundered the money in connivance with the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

The charge sheet, signed by EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, did not list Emmanuel as a defendant.

The EFCC indicated that he is “currently constitutionally immuned against criminal prosecution”. It did, however, mention four other defendants.

They are: Nsikan Nkan, described as Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State; Mfon Udomah, described as the Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, described as the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; and Margaret Ukpe, all of whom are said to be at large.

The commission alleged that Usoro, in connivance with the others mentioned, conspired to commit the offence “sometime in 2015 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court”.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the N1.4bn belonged to the Akwa Ibom State Government.

According to Oyedepo, the offences were contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

Though SAHARA REPORTERS wrote that Usoro was picked up yesterday and released on bail by the anti-graft body, this was disparaged by NBA Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Edun who said Usoro was busy preparing to chair the NBA National Executive Committee (NBA-NEC) meeting holding tomorrow.

Reacting to a rebroadcast of the Sahara Reporters story by a legal blog, Edun said: “Pls, where did you get this information from. I have been in Abuja for the past two days. I was in Port Harcourt for SLP Conference on Monday. From Sunday till this moment I have been in contact with the NBA President.

“National officers had a meeting with him yesterday evening and left about few minutes past 12 am. I have seen Mr. President this morning. Presently he is in the office working hard preparing for NEC meeting.

“Pls, let us stop spreading false news. Away (sic) verify your facts before publishing. You could have easily reached me.
Your report is therefore false and should be retracted immediately. I hope you will also publish this refutal.”

Corroborating Edun’s account, another source who seemed abreast with Usoro’s itinerary wrote: “This is absolutely false. I was with the NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN throughout yesterday, Tuesday, 05 December 2018 and at no point whatsoever was he arrested by the EFCC.

“The President left Abuja to Lagos on Monday, 03 December 2018, with Airpeace 1:20pm and returned to Abuja on Tuesday, 04 December 2018, with Azman 8am, for a workshop organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission.

“After the workshop, he was in the office (NBA National Secretariat) till about 12:03am where he had a long meeting with other National Officers of the NBA.

“Please see below, pictures of the NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN chairing a session at the Workshop on Reform of the Value Added Tax Act, organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission yesterday, 04 December 2018, at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja.”

Former NBA Welfare Secretary, Mr. Adesina Adegbite was forced to intervene when his attention was called to the concerns generated on his whatsapp platform by the report.

He wrote: “My attention was just drawn to this by a senior lawyer and past General Secretary of the NBA.

“However, by the response of the National Publicity Secretary and as the Chief Administrator of this platform, I hereby demand an immediate retraction of this post right here on this platform.

“Pls let’s get our facts right before rushing to press with false/fake news. It does us as lawyers and our noble Association no good to tarnish its image with undignified posts like this.”

However, when a learned silk classified the report as “fake news,” fiery Bar activist, Dame Carol Ajie who recently fell out with the NBA President retorted: “You know I called owner of the link (blog) they picked my call and after listening to my question ref to confirm they said to me they have confirmed.

“You know it’s not been posted to OurCountryNigeria@yahoogroups.ca but when I see the charge sheet then I can share it. Response from Carol Ajie to my comment of ‘fake news.’ ”

As at the time of this report, the NBA is yet to issue any official statement rebutting the alleged arrest.

NBA ELECTIONS INVESTIGATION: CHAMS REPLIES EFCC

CHAMS Plc, the ICT Partner for the recently concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, has responded to the query issued to it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the controversial elections. Continue Reading