The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) under Mr. A. B, Mahmoud (SAN), has again cleared insolvency lawyer, Mr. Kunle Ogunba, of alleged professional misconduct levelled against him by Honeywell Group Limited.
In the clearance letter dated February 20, 2018, which was signed by the General Secretary of the NBA, Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju, the association said it had dismissed the petition by Honeywell for lack of prima facie case of professional misconduct against Ogunba.
“We write to inform you that the NBA Disciplinary Committee Abuja Panel B has concluded hearing of your petition. It is the decision of the panel that your petition does not disclose a prima facie case of professional misconduct against the respondent. In the light of the decision of the panel, your petition against the respondent is hereby dismissed,” the letter added.
The NBA under Mr. Austine Alegeh (SAN) had earlier cleared the lawyer before the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) stripped him of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria rank in January 2018.
The LPPC had in a statement signed by its Secretary and Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadizatu Mustapha, said the withdrawal of Ogunba’s rank and privileges was based on a petition by Honeywell Group.
“The misconduct alleged consists of the institution of multiplicity of proceedings before different judges of the Federal High Court on the same subject with the deliberate aim of abusing the process of court and derailing the course of justice. After a thorough investigation of the petition by the sub-committee set up by the LPPC (at which the respondent was given a fair hearing), it was decided that the petition is meritorious. Consequently, the LPPC at its 129th plenary meeting have withdrawn the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria from Kunle Ogunba and other privileges attached to the rank forthwith,” LPPC explained.
The NBA had in a letter dated August 5, 2016 and signed by its then General Secretary Mazi Afam Osigwe, said it would not refer Ogunba to its Disciplinary Committee over Honeywell’s petition.
“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 Ogunba could be called upon to offer an explanation. It is a principle of law that companies are separate legal entities capable of suing and being sued. Placing this principle side by side your allegation of abuse of court process, we are satisfied the cases referred to as well as the court processes attached by your good-selves failed to show the existence of a case involving same parties in respect of same facts and seeking same reliefs,” Osigwe had said.
What really is the consequences of this reiteration by the NBA in the light of the verdict already passed by the LPPC?