NBA Ikeja Mandates Past Chairmen, Treasurer to Refund N38m; Adesina Ogunlana Fires Back

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja Branch has by a resolution passed during its monthly meeting directed two past Chairmen of the branch Messrs. Yinka Forounbi and Adesina Ogunlana and a former treasurer of the Branch, Derin Kappo to refund the sum totaling over N38m which was alleged to have been mismanaged during their tenure as executive members of the branch.

The resolution followed a consideration of the final reports presented to the Branch by two committees set up to investigate alleged incidents of mismanagement of the branch’s fund during their tenure.

DNL Legal and Style was reliably informed that the final reports were adopted and it was resolved that the person indicted must refund the sum allegedly mismanaged.

Part of the resolution reads:

“The Resolutions Of The Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch On The Reports Of The Insurance Committee.

WHEREAS:

  1. At the Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association held on 18th July 2018, the Branch by a unanimous resolution, set up a Committee called the “Insurance Committee” to conduct enquiries into the insurance policy of the branch between 2014 and 2018 financial year.
  1. The Committee presented its final report dated 28th January 2019 to the General House at its February 2019 monthly meeting and following a motion moved by Adesina Adegbite Esq. and seconded by Chief Richard Ahonaruogho, same was adopted for deliberations.
  1. The report revealed that Yinka Forounbi (past Chairman 2014 – 2016) and Derin Kappo (Past Treasurer 2014 – 2016) continued to sign and issue cheques of the branch up till 2017, over one year after ceasing to hold offices and contrary to the provisions of the Uniform Bye-Laws of NBA.
  2. The report further revealed that the following withdrawals were made directly into their personal accounts from the insurance accounts of the Branch without any explanations:
  1. 3/10/17, the sum of N1,000,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  2. 10/10/17. The sum of N700,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  3. 13/11/17. The sum of N2,000,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  4. 11/12/17. The sum of N500,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  5. 11/12/17. The sum of N2,000,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  6. 10/01/18. The sum of N1,250,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  7. 16/01/18. The sum of N500,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  8. 31/01/18. The sum of N500,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  9. 31/01/18. The sum of N1,000,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  10. 15/02/18. The sum of N1,000,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  11. 12/03/18. The sum of N1,200,000.00 to Adesina Ogunlana
  1. In total, the Committee revealed a total of N11,650,000.00 unexplained withdrawals by the and in the name of the past chairman, Adesina Ogunlana Esq. from the Insurance accounts of NBA Ikeja.

 At the Monthly Meeting of Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch held at its secretariat (THE BAR CENTRE) on Monday, 2nd December 2019, upon the consideration of the reports the Insurance Committee of the branch, Following the motion moved by Chief (Dr) Richard Ahonarogho and seconded by Boma Okigbo-Udebiwa Esq, the House resolved:

  1. that Adesina Ogunlana, Mr. Yinka Farounbi, Mrs Derin Kappo and all persons indicted by the report of the Insurance Committee and to whom monies were traced from the insurance funds of NBA ikeja Branch, not being an insurance company, should return all such monies within 30 days from the date of the resolution.

  2. That the Branch shall be and is therefore empowered to use all means to recover the said funds from any such persons.”

Upon receipt of the report and the resolution passed by the branch, DNL and Style sought to confirm its authenticity from both the Chairman and Secretary of the branch.

The Chairman of the branch, Mr. Dele Oloke, confirmed that the report was considered during the branch meeting and a resolution passed adopting same as the position of members. In his word; “We set up the committee and they invited those who were affected to state their case, some of them attended the invitation and made clarification while some of them refused and failed to attended and the committee worked with the information made available to them and reached a conclusion.” 

When asked if the move made by the branch will not prejudice the case which is already in court in respect of the alleged misappropriation, Mr. Oloke responded thus: “A fact finding committee set up by the branch has indicted some people of mismanagement of the fund belonging to the branch after holding several meeting. The funds belong to all of us and if it is confirmed that some people embezzled it, they should return the fund. It is different from the criminal trial that is going on with the EFCC. It has nothing to do with the demand for the refunds. I can give you over ten authorities to confirm that we can proceed to recover our money while the criminal trial is on going. They have to return the money because they cannot account for how it was spent”

On his part, the Secretary of the branch also confirmed the report and noted that the said report and resolution were circulated to all members after the meeting of the branch.

When contacted on the phone for his reaction, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana informed DNL Legal and Style that the entire move is politically motivated to detract him from his ambition to become the President of the NBA. He specifically mentioned names of persons in the branch which he asserts are responsible for his alleged persecution.

In his words;

“Whoever is sending this to you is just one of the reaction to the very intimidating profile of me and the radical agenda movement of the NBA. So, it is political.”

He wondered why the branch is meddling into a matter which is already subject of court adjudication.

“Are these people legally sensible at all?  When there is a matter in court and people sat down in a monthly meeting which I was not present and they said they were considering a particular report”

He noted that the issue started with those he referred to as his “political enemies”.

“The genesis of this involves now an arch enemy of mine, Dele Adesina SAN, this is the basic story. There was a problem dating back to how I emerged as chairman. There was a parallel government and after one year I overcame that challenge and after that there was to be election and the man who succeeded me didn’t want an election and I said no and insisted that everybody is going to contest the election. Eventually there was a contest and he emerged. There were issues with that election but on principle, I stood by the result of the election despite the irregularities and the first thing he did upon assuming office was to set up committee to investigate me. Members of the committee are people of his own campaign team who have been very bitter about their losses over the years. These are the reason why they set up these their so called account fact finding and insurance committee.”

Explaining why he refused to honour the invitation of the committee, Mr. Ogunlana note that the members were partisan and had indicted him before hearing his own part.

“They set up their committee and they did not invite me until October 2018. Before they invited me, they came to the floor of the house in September to give what they said was a preliminary report indicting me, Mr. Farounbi and Mrs. Kappo. They gave that report in the meeting, after they have done that, they now invited me and I objected. I said apart from the history of your partisanship, you have come to give a preliminary report indicting me and after you have indicted me and read my indictment to the public that you invited me to come. I will not attend and that I did not even see their invitation. So I said I will not honour the invitation.”

Explaining further what he calls the persecution of his person, Mr. Ogunlana noted;

“You are the same set of people who have written petition to the EFCC, and being championed by Femi Falana and others and I wrote all these back to them so, in December 2018 or January 2019, they started boasting that I would go to prison and I kept attending the meeting and in February, EFCC came to arrest me but before February I had written to the EFCC indicting Falana and I sent a copy of my letter to Femi Falana SAN.  I told EFCC that what they are asking me to do is to come to them with account of 2014 to 2018 and I objected and said I was not president in 2014. I didn’t become chairman until 2016 and that what do they want to inquire about an account that has not been audited and tendered.  As a person of integrity and courage, I didn’t run away and they came on February 12 to arrest me. I went there and was released on the 15th very reluctantly even though I perfected the bail and they started their investigation on this same petition that my political enemies who are now in power in Ikeja are now carrying out their so called investigation again.”

“Adesina Ogunlana is the only candidate other candidates are afraid of.  First they said I do not have money to run for the office, now they have seen that the radical agenda has taken a life of its own. Why are they trying to preempt the court? What are they afraid of? In fact, they should be charged for contempt. I will also not take it lightly with anyone who publishes anything that is targeted at defaming my person. He concluded.”

In an earlier interview with Deacon Dele Adesina SAN, he had clarified his involvement in the dispute between NBA Ikeja and Adesina Ogunlana, noting that all he was concerned about was ensuring that there is no crisis both in his branch and in any NBA branch. He gave further details of the effort he made towards ensuring that the issues are resolved.

Excerpt;

…Regarding this case, if anybody told you that I was one of the petitioners, the person has not only lied against me, he has lied against God. The truth is that I was not and no senior member of Ikeja branch was a party to the petition. I was not aware of the petition like many senior members until the matter had gotten out of hand. This is because for several months many seniors were no longer attending the branch meetings. So, we didn’t know anything until after the EFCC had stormed the monthly meeting I think of March 2019 to make an arrest.

After the arrest, I got calls from senior members of the Bar asking about what was happening in the branch and because I also did not know, I had to tell them to give me time to find out. I invited the Chairman to my office and asked what brought about the problem. He narrated that he set up 2 Committees on finance and insurance of the branch and the Committees indicted the two past Chairmen who are being prosecuted. He said specifically that a member died in the branch and when they tried to process his insurance payment of about N1m, they discovered that the branch did not pay premium to the insurance company and as a result the insurance policy was canceled. Meanwhile, the branch was collecting premium dues from the members including the deceased.

That this led to two or three members including the personal friend of the deceased to send a petition to the EFCC. That it wasn’t the branch that petitioned the EFCC. He explained further that Mr. Adesina Ogunlana had earlier been arrested and released on bail and that the EFCC came when Mr. Yinka Farounbi was not honouring their invitation. I told the Chairman immediately that they did not handle the issue well. Some of those who called me and some other leaders of the branch were Chief Lanre Ogunlese SAN and Chief Niyi Akintola SAN. I promised them that I will get the elders to address the problem.

The Elders have always timeously intervened at any period of crisis and I think we have had quite a great dose particularly on branch elections. For instance I still recall that when the same Yinka Farounbi and Monday Ubani contested for the chairmanship of the branch and Ubani was elected, Yinka went to court. Ubani went to Chief Olisa Agbakoba SAN to get him to defend him and Chief Agbakoba asked him, “is Dele Adesina not there? Go and meet him. He will sort it out.”. Olisa later called me and I told him that he should not worry that we would resolve whatever the issues are.

I waded into the matter with other leaders. I went to court without robbing and pleaded with the Court to adjourn the matter and allow me and other elders of the branch to seek out of court settlement and the judge obliged.  That was how the issue was finally settled by appealing to Yinka Farounbi to wait and allow Monday Ubani to run his tenure. Yinka later succeeded Monday Ubani as Chairman. The same problem reared its head again when Mr. Ogunlana and the present chairman Mr. Dele Oloke contested. It was a tedious time trying to resolve the protracted crisis that followed the election.

Coming back to the prosecution, what I did immediately was to assure concerned phone callers that leaders will intervene. I believe leadership is all about resolving problems.

…Some leaders were indeed very angry and their positions were that if people have burnt their fingers with the money of the branch, they should suffer the consequences. Others were of the view that people owe it a duty to render account for their stewardship. That the two gentlemen made a serious mistake of not honouring the invitation of the branch Committees that investigated the accounts. At the end of the day, the elders resolved that steps must be taken to as it were, apologize to the officials of the EFCC and secure the release of Mr. Farounbi who was then in EFCC custody. That the branch chairman should send copies of the Committee’s report to the two past chairmen who were directed to forward their responses to the Committees and that the Committees final report should be sent to the branch auditors and whatever is found to have been misappropriated should be refunded. Thereafter, the petitioners will be appealed to, to withdraw their petition.

Consequent upon this meeting, Mr. P.O Lasisi SAN, myself and the branch chairman Mr. Dele Oloke paid a visit to the office of the EFCC at Ikoyi where we held meetings to apologize to the concerned officials allegedly assaulted and to seek for the release of Mr. Farounbi on bail. This eventually led to his release. The elders were still on this process when we heard that the matter had been charged to court.

I have gone as far as suggesting at one of the branch meetings that the branch should find a way of sourcing for fund to pay the family of the deceased and others who legitimately have a claim on the insurance policy. Unfortunately, this suggestion did not go down well with members who believed that the failure of the executive to remit the money which led to the cancellation of the policy was wrong and that the past chairman should bear full responsibility for this wrong. This is the position of the branch. There was nothing the elders could do. Indeed, the elders did not want their efforts to be mis-construed as covering or condoning fraud. All efforts to call further meeting did not succeed.

I must add that some were even accusing the Elders of trying to shield the two gentlemen from rendering accounts to the branch which is not true.

Attached are copies of the report of the findings of the two committees which was adopted by the members of the NBA Ikeja branch.

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