Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Nigeria: Court vacates bench warrant against Akwa Ibom officials in alleged money laundering case

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A federal high court in Lagos has vacated the bench warrant issued against three government officials of Akwa Ibom state who were accused of money laundering.

On March 1, Mohammed Aikawa, the presiding judge, had ordered the arrest of Nsikan Nkan, commissioner for finance; Uwemedimo Nwoko, attorney-general and commissioner for justice; Mfon Udomah, accountant-general of the state and Margaret Ukpe, an account officer.

The arrest warrant was issued after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared the officials wanted.

However, the state officials filed an application asking the court to set aside the order.

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The officials were named in a N1.4 billion alleged money laundering charge filed against Paul Usoro, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

Presenting his argument against the bench warrant, Mike Ozekhome, counsel to the affected officials, stated that the court has no jurisdiction over his clients, since the EFCC has not filed any charge again them.

Ozekhome argued that the EFCC was wrong to have asked the court to issue a bench warrant against his clients when there was no record that they ignored lawful summons.

The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) guaranteed that the officials would be available to answer to charges that may be filed against them by the EFCC.

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Aikawa immediately vacated the bench warrant against the officials.

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