ALLEGATIONS OF GROSS MISCONDUCTS AGAINST ADEKUNLE OGUNBA (SAN): NEED TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND HONOUR OF THE INNER BAR

The Dynamic Patriotic Citizens Foundation, a civil society organisation (CSO) based in Nigeria, has followed with utmost concern media reports on the petitions to the Legal Practioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), which levelled allegations of gross misconducts against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Adekunle Ogunba, SAN and the need to preserve the integrity of the legal profession and honor of the inner bar.

The petitions was made by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Privileges Committee (LPPC) and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC).

The petitioners accused the SAN of knowingly falsifying information, misrepresenting, and suppressing facts in an affidavit, thus misleading the Court to fraudulently obtain an injunction for his client, Access Bank Plc.

According to the press release which was signed by Bar. Tolu Babaleye ESQ ( Chairman BOT) and Alpheus Orji, (Director of Research), “the said Kunle Ogunba SAN was specifically accused of breaching Rules 1, 15, 24, 30 and 32 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, 2007, in a manner demeaning of the conduct required of a legal practitioner and the high moral character and professional standards expected and required of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”

According to the details released, Tolu Babaleye Stated, “This is a matter of grave concern and interest in view of the fact that the said Senior Advocate had been stripped of his SAN rank in 2018 by the Legal Practitioner’s Privileges Committee (LPPC), following allegations of sharp practices, multiplicity of proceedings, and abuse of court processes to derail the course of justice – although the privileged rank was subsequently restored to him on the condition that he desists from such practice.”

“We note with interest the contestations in the public space, the media and within the legal community about the propriety or otherwise of his actions following the unanimous ruling from a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal that suspended the order obtained by Ogunba, SAN, allegedly, with patently false information.”
It also stated that not only did Ogunba’s alleged action impact negatively on several high profile Corporate bodies that have nothing to do with the Access Bank case, it disrupted businesses with high risk of loss of confidence in our system by Foreign Direct Investors.

Also it reads that, “ It is also interesting to note, as could be deduced from the Court of Appeal’s reasoning, that Ogunba’s action was alleged to have disrupted gas supplies to power plants that generate about 40 per cent of power supply in Nigeria and affected the rights of over 400 employees and businesses. The Court of Appeal held that “where machines and workers would be rendered useless, the court would intervene.”

“Much as we cannot stand in judgement over the Learned SAN, as it is the duty of the LPPC and LPDC to consider and interrogate the allegation, a SAN should not place personal interest above public good. We believe that not even the prospects of making over N3.5 Billion, representing about 10 per cent legal fees from the said $85.8 Million dollars debt can make a SAN lose his sight of the high ethical standards and professionalism the Rules of Professional Conduct, 2007, imposes on all legal practitioners or the patriotism members of the Inner Bar, as the standard bearers of legal profession in Nigeria, owe the public and our nation.”

The group called on the necessary authorities to look into the case with justice and equity and ensure that the proper judgement is melted out, according to Mr. Tolu Babaleye, “ The allegations against Kunle Ogunba SAN are weighty. We call on the LPPC and LPDC to investigate this matter of public and professional interests with expediency and do justice without fear or favour as the public is on the watch to see how the Legal Profession will handle a case against one of his own.”

“Since this is not the first time the SAN’s ethical and professional conducts will be called into question, he should be sternly sanctioned and finally stripped of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria rank this time around should he be found wanting, to serve as a deterrent to persons of such standing with tendencies for inflicting injustice on the society and desecrating the integrity of the legal profession due to vested fiduciary and personal interests. To whom much is given, much is desired.”

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