The Court of Appeal , Lagos Division, has ordered that the name of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel , be removed from the money laundering charges filed against the President of the Nigerian Bar Association , Paul Usoro ( SAN ) .
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accused Usoro of converting and laundering N 1 . 4 bn belonging to the Akwa Ibom State Government .
In the four out of the 10 counts filed against Usoro , the EFCC alleged that Usoro converted and laundered the N 1 . 4 bn in connivance with Emmanuel.
The anti – graft agency , however , did not list Emmanuel as a defendant in the case , indicating that the governor is “currently constitutionally immune against criminal prosecution. ”
However, listed as Usoro ’s co – defendants in the case are the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance, Nsikan Nkan ; the state ’s Accountant General, Mfon Udomah ; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko; and the cashier at the Akwa Ibom State Government House, Margaret Ukpe .
But Emmanuel , through his lawyer , Dr Charles Mekwunye, had contended that the charges were defective because his name was mentioned in spite of the fact that he enjoyed immunity from prosecution as a sitting state governor.
He urged the court to quash the entire charges .
“It is unconstitutional for the complainant to supervise Akwa Ibom State’ s use of funds ,” Emmanuel ’ s lawyer also argued.
But the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC , Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that Emmanuel’ s name was only mentioned in the charges , he was not listed as a defendant .
In his ruling on May 30 , 2019 , Justice Rilwan Aikawa agreed with the EFCC that the governor was not a defendant in the case , noting that his name was “merely mentioned ” as one of those who allegedly conspired with the NBA President to launder the N 1 .4 bn .
“In every criminal trial, the necessary parties are the complainant and the named defendant , in this case , Mr Paul Usoro.
“Including the governor ’s name in counts one to four does not make him a defendant