It is no longer news that the rank of SAN has been withdrawn from Mr. Kunle Ogunba Esq, on ground of his involvement in actions that were adjudged as constituting an abuse of court process, as stated in a press release signed by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court on behalf of the LPPC.
The verdict of the LPPC was the outcome of an investigation into a petition that was filed against Mr. OGUNBA by the Honneywell Group Limited.
However, a source within the NBA has confirmed to TheNigerialawyer that a petition earlier filed against the same Mr. Ogunba was dismissed for lack of merit, based on unavailability of credible evidence.
An unconfirmed source however suggests that it is possible that a petition other than the one earlier dismissed may have been forwarded for investigation which must have led to Mr. Kunle being nailed. Perhaps, the said petition must have disclosed some wrongdoing on the part of Mr OGUNBA, leading to the disciplinary action against him by the LPPC.
Below is the earlier Petition filed at the LPPC:
August 5, 2016
Honeywell Group Limited 613, Mektutwen Road
Off Oyinkan Abayomi Drive Ikoyi,
RE: PETITION IN RESPECT OF PROFESSISINAL MISCONDUCT BY MR. KUNLE OGUNBA. SAN
Your letter to the President of the Nigerian Bar Association signed by an unnamed signatory dated 7th April, 2016 in respect of the above subject matter refers.
We regret to inform you that a careful reading of the petition failed to disclose any alleged infraction of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007 in respect of which Mr. Kunle Ogunba, SAN could be called upon to offer an explanation.
Our conclusion was reinforced by the following facts:
It is a principle of law that Companies are separate legal entity capable of suing and being sued.
Placing this principle side by side your allegation of abuse of court process, we are satisfied there was the cases referred to as well as the court processes attached by your good-selves, failed to show the existence a case involving same parties, in respect of same facts and seeking same reliefs.
In the light of the above, it is difficult to concede to the allegation that the following suits;
FHC/L/CS/1219/2015 Anchorage Leisures Ltd & 2 ON Vs Ecobank Nigeria LTD, FHC/L/CP/1569/2015 Ecobank Pis Vs Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, RICA/BK/19/2015W Oba Otudeko Vs Ecobank Nigeria Limited, MICA/CP/1572/2015 Ecobank Nigeria Limited Vs Siloan¬Global Services Limited, FHC/L/CP/1570/2015 Ecobank Nigeria Limited Vs Anchorage Leisure: Limited, FHC/L/CP/1571/2015 Ecobank Nigeria Limited Vs Honeywell Group Limited an FHC/L/CP/1689/201S Ecobank Nigeria Limited Vs Honeywell Flour Mills Plc amounts to abuse c court process upon which a disciplinary proceeding should commence.
Response to the Above Letter From NBA
To substantiate our above stated position, we wish to state as follows:
FHC/L/BK/19/2015Mr. Oba Otudeko Vs Ecobank Nigeria Limited and FHC/L/CS/1219/201 Anchorage Leisures Ltd & 2 Ors Vs Ecobank were filed by the Plaintiffs seeking a declaration al rou are no longer indebted to the bank and that the bank should be restrained from publishing your company’s name on its list of bad debtors under the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria
b) FHCA/CP/1569/2015 Ecobank Pis Vs Honeywell Flour Mills Plc and FHC/L/CP/1571/2015 Ecobank Nigeria Limited Vs Honeywell Group Limited are petitions filed consecutively for winding-up proceedings against the companies which were later discontinued by the petitioner in order to correct anomalies in the suit
c) FHC/L/CP/1572/2015 Ecobank Nigeria Limited Vs Siloam Global Services Limited and FHC/L/CP/1570/2015 Ecobank Nigeria Limited Vs Anchorage Leisures Limited involves petition for winding up against the two different companies.
d) The fact the companies may have common ownership or directors does not make them the same entity or preclude the presentation of petitions against them, if counsel believe grounds exist for doing so.
4 A careful examination of the court processes filed by parties at the various suits indicated difference in either parties or reliefs sought which defeats your allegation of abuse of court process.
5 The judgment of the Court of Appeal you attached did not make any pronouncement against the Respondent on the issue of abuse of court process. The Court did not indict the Respondent and as such will not be used as a basis for coming to the conclusion that grounds exist for commencing disciplinary hearing against the Respondent.
6 The Respondent’s actions are in our respectful view in line with the duty of a counsel to do everything which in the exercise of his discretion he thinks best for the general interest of his client, which cannot be fettered by subjecting him to the disciplinary proceedings.
7 The Respondent owed his client a duty to take all lawful steps to directly and or indirectly represent his client and or get the best in the circumstance for his client in reliance on the best of his professional ability.
8 We are of the informed view that the actions and or decisions taken by the Respondent were not only authorised by his instruction but were made in the course of an attempt at arriving at an amicable settlement in the matter. The Respondent’s actions in the course of representing their respective client are justified by his duty to get the best for his client and do not impugn the integrity of the legal profession.
We are therefore of the considered belief that the allegations contained in the petition under reference do not contain facts indicating any infraction of the Rules of Professional Conduct. In the light of the foregoing, we will be unable to further inquire into the matter by forwarding the petition to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee. The petition is hereby dismissed as it lacks merit.
Accept our regards of the highest esteem.
Below is the copy of the letter in PDF Formatkunle
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