LPDC Disbars Joe Abang Esq For Infamous Conduct

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The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, LPDC, has found former Attorney General of Cross River, Joseph Abang guilty of infamous conduct in the course of the performance of his duty as a Legal Practitioner and has consequently directed the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to Strike Out his name from the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria

Read the full decision of the LPDC below;

IN THE LEGAL PRACTITIONERS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE
BODY OF BENCHERS HOLDEN AT ABUJA

BB/LPDC/243/2020

BETWEEN:

INCORPORATED TRUSTEES OF NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION = =COMPLAINANT

Vs.

JOE ABANG ESQ. = = = = = = = RESPONDENT

CORAM

1. EMMANUEL C. UKALA S.A.N
2. HON. JUSTICE HUSSEIN MUKHTAR, PJCA
3. HON. JUSTICE RABI UMAR, CJ BAUCHI
4. EBENEZER OBEYA Esq.
5. BOMA AYOMIDE ALABI, S.A.N, OON

FINAL DIRECTION

DELIVERED ON 21ST DAY OF JANUARY, 2021

A succinct statement of facts leading to the above complaint is that, the Respondent was engaged as a lawyer by the Petitioner (Unity Bank PLC) to recover the indebtedness of Bilwadams Construction Company Nigeria Limited a customer of the bank that was indebted to the defunct Bank of the North and Intercity Bank PLC (some of the legacy banks merged and formed Unity Bank PLC).

That despite the Petitioner’s instruction that the recovered sums should be paid in their accounts, the Respondent received recovered sums in his account, and the Respondent received the sum of N6,666,666.66 (Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Sixty Six Kobo) only, on the 29t October, 2010, but never remitted to the bank, the Respondent also received the sum of N66,666,666.71 (Sixty Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Seventy One Kobo) only in 2012, but never remitted to the bank as at August 2013.

That upon intensified demand by the Petitioner, the Respondent on 23rd September, 2013 remitted N45,000,000.00 (Forty-Five Million Naira) only to the Petitioner with the promise to pay the outstanding sum of N23.249,620.80 (Twenty-Three Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty Naira, Eighty Kobo) only.

The Respondent without the Petitioner’s express or implied instructions and despite the subsisting judgment with the Petitioner’s customer to pay the sum of N110,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Ten Million Naira) only in full and final settlement of the outstanding indebtedness which as at July 2013 was in the sun of N392,202,376.82 (Three Hundred and Ninety Two Million, two Hundred and Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy Six Naira, Eighty Two Kobo) only, and that till date the Respondent is yet to remit to the Petitioner the outstanding sum of N28,333,333.00 (Twenty Eight Million, Three Hundred and Thirty Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty Three Naira) only.

The N.B.A Disciplinary Panel found that the Respondent’s conduct constituted an infraction of the acceptable standard of behavior or ethics of the Legal Profession and has brought this Complaint against the Respondent.

On the 26 day of June, 2020, a formal complaint was filed against the Respondent thus:

COUNT 1

That you JOE ABANG, ESQ, a Legal Practitioner whose name is on the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria, Adult, Male and Practicing in Lagos State, sometimes in October 2010 on behalf of your client Unity Bank Plc, received the sum of N6,666,666.66 (Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixt Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Sixt Six Kobo) but you withheld and used the money for yourself and refused to remit same to our Client and b so doing, ou failed to maintain a high standard of professional conduct expected of a Legal Practitioner all contrary to Rules 1, 14(1) (2), 23(1), (2) and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners Act Cap L11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (As revised)

COUNT2

That you JOE ABANG, ESQ., a Legal Practitioner whose name is on the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria, Adult, Male and Practicing in Lagos, Lagos State, sometime in 2012, received the sum 0fN66,666,666.71 (Sixt Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Seventy One Kobo) being money meant for your client, Unity Bank Plc. from a debtor of the said Bank but you kept and used the money for yourself and refused to remit same to your client, and by so doing you took advantage of the confidence reposed in you by your client and failed to maintain the high standards of professional conduct expected of a Legal Practitioner contrary to Rules 1, 14(1), (2), 15 (3), 23(1)2) and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 and punishable under S. 12 (1) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap Ll 1 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as revised).

COUNT3

That you JOE ABANG, ESQ., a Legal Practitioner whose name is on the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria, Adult, Male and Practicing in Lagos, Lagos State received the sums of N6,666,666.66 (Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixt Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Sixt Six Kobo) and N66,666,666.71 (Sixty Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixt Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Seventy One Kobo) in October 2010 and sometime in 2012 respectively on behalf of your client Unity Bank Plc and you refused to remit same to our client until 23r-September, 2013 when you remitted N45,000,000.00 (Fort Five Million Naira only) after intensified demands by our client and ou failed and/or refused to pa the outstanding balance despite your undertaking to do so on or before the October 2013, and by so doing, you took advantage of the confidence reposed in you by tour client and failed to maintain the high standards of a Legal Practitioner by engaging in acts unbecoming of a Legal Practitioner Contrary to Rules 1, 14(1) 23(1) and (2), 15 (3)(j) and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 and punishable under s. 12(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap Ll 1 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

COUNT4

That you JOE ABANG, ESQ., a Legal Practitioner whose name is on the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria, Adult, Male and Practicing in Lagos, Lagos State received and paid into your own/firm’s Account with Unity Bank Plc the sum of N6,666,666.66 (Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Sixt Six Koba) and N66,666,666.71 (Sixty Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Seventy One Kobo)received on 29October 2010 and sometime in 2012 respectively from debtors and belonging to your client Unity Bank Plc thus mixing our client’s money with your own/firm’s money instead of Client’s Account and by so doing, you failed to maintain the high standard of Professional Conduct expected of Legal Practitioner contrary to Rules 1, 23 (2) and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 and punishable under s. 12(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap Ll 1 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as revised).

COUNT 5

That you JOE ABANG, ESQ., a Legal Practitioner whose name ts on the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria, Adult, Male and Practicing in Lagos, Lagos State without your Client’s (Unity Bank Plc) express or implied instructions and authorization, and despite the subsisting High Court Judgment in Unity Bank Plc favor, entered into Terms of Settlement with the Judgment debtor to pay the sum of Nll0,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Ten Million Naira) only in full and final settlement of the outstanding indebtedness which as at July 2013 was in the sum of N392,202,376.82 (Three Hundred and Ninety Two Million, two Hundred and Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy Six Naira, Eighty Two Koba) and by so doing you failed to maintain a high standard of Professional Conduct expected of a Legal Practitioner all contrary to Rules 1, 15 (3), 18(2) and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners
2007 and punishable under s. 12(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap Ll 1 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as revised).

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The above Complaint was read to the Respondent on the 5 day of October 2020 and the Respondent pleaded not liable to each of the counts.

The Complainant called two witnesses in proof of the allegation against the Respondent. PWl Zibai Blessed Katung an Assistant Secretary of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) testified that his schedule of duties includes the receipts of complaints from Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in which prima-facie cases of acts of professional misconduct have been made against Legal Practitioners. PWl ‘s sworn witness statement on oath was adopted as his evidence and Exhibits “P1-P35” were tendered through him and admitted in evidence.

PW2 Mr Vincent Eke, is the Head of Litigation in Unity Bank, this witness also testified on the 5t day of October, 2020 by adopting his witness statement on oath and through him Exhibits “P36-P130” were tendered and admitted in evidence. The Respondent cross-examined PWl and PW2 and also tendered Exhibit Dl and D2 through PW2. At the close of the Complainant’s case, the Respondent rested his defence on the Complainant’s evidence.

The Respondent’s final written address dated 8t October,2020 was filed on the same day, while the Complainant’s final written address dated 20t October 2020 was filed on the 21s October, 2020. The Respondent’s reply on points of law was filed on the 23rd day of October, 2020.

The Respondent in his final Written Address formulated one issue for determination, namely;

“Whether having regard to the entirety of the evidence led by the Complainant which are legally inadmissible and or bereft of probative value, the complaint has not failed in establishing its complaints against the Respondent.

The sole issue was argued by the Respondent in relation to the five-count Complaint. In urging the Committee to return a verdict of not liable for all the counts of the Complaint, the Respondent submitted that there was no legally admissible evidence adduced by the Complainant to establish the counts of the Complaints as the evidence led were all based on hearsay. The Respondents also argued that the documents tendered were dumped on the Committee and as such no probative value should be attached to it. He argued that the evidence led by the Complainant contradicts the complaints; He finally argued that the Complainant did not call vital witnesses and therefore came to the conclusion that evidence were withheld which he said there is a presumption of law that evidence withheld would have been in his favour.

The Respondent relied on several authorities including Sikiru K. AINA V THE STATE (2018) LPELR-45566 (CA), UTTEH V THE STATE (1992) LPELR-6239 (SC), BUHARI VS INEC (2009) 19 NWLR (PT. 1120) 246, LADOJA V AJIMOBI (2016) LPELR-40658(SC), EDWARD NKWEGU OKEREKE V. NWEZE DAVID UMAHI & ORS (2016) LPELR 400,35SC, FGN V. AIC LTD (2006) 4 NWLR (PT. 970)337, PARAS E-H, PER MOHAMMED, KAYILI V. YILBUK (2015) NWLR(PT.1457)26 at 77, EDOHO VS. STATE (2004)5 NWLR(PT.865)17@51 PARAS A-C PER Ekpe JCA, NNOLIM v. STATE (1993)3 NWLR(pt. 283)569@581, AREMU V ADETORO (2007)16 NWLR(PT. 1060)244, Tobi JSC

The Respondent also filed Reply on points of law on the 23r of October, 2020 where he reiterated his argument that the Complainant has not adduced any legally admissible evidence that will entitle it to its claim. He cited the cases of OKONJI & ORS VS. NJOKANMA & ORS (1991) LPELR-2476(SC), AGBOOLA V STATE (2013) LPELR-20652(SC), SOLANKE V SOMEFUN (1974) 1 SC PG. 141

The above is the gist of the Respondent’s Final Address and Reply on Points of law.

The Complainant in his final written address formulated a sole issue for the determination namely;

Whether the Complainant has proved Counts 1,2,3,4 and 5 of the complaint/or put in another way, whether the Complainant has established the complaints of professional misconduct against the Respondent

This complaint will be determined on the issue formulated by the Complainant as the Committee finds it more comprehensive and encompassing.

The Complainant submits that it has proved each of the counts laid before the Committee against the Respondent.

The complainant submits that by Exhibit P21, letter dated 18 July, 2007 from Unity Bank to the Respondent, the Respondent was instructed as a legal Practitioner to recover money owed the Bank by the Bank’s two customers listed in the letter of instruction. That it was a term in the letter of instruction that the Bank ” .. . expect immediate results and require that you update us with fortnightly progress report”. That the Respondent did not in this proceeding deny the clear instructions from the Client. The Respondent in Exhibit P16 admitted that what existed between him and the Bank was a Lawyer/Client relationship. By that admission the minimal proof required to establish that relationship is satisfied. ETUWEWE VS. ETUWEWE (1993) 2 NWLR (PT 274) 185 @ 192.

The learned silk for the Complainant also submitted that the complaints set out in Counts 1,2,3 and 4 have been proved by quality evidence in the evidence of PWl and PW2, and Exhibit Pl-131. That the documents were admitted in evidence without objection and they support the case made on the complaints, as they are consistent with the evidence of PWl and PW2 in this proceeding and the Committee is entitled to rely on it. The learned silk relied on the authorities of KIMDEY VS. MILITARY GOVERNOR GONGOLA STATE (1988) 2 NWLR (PT
77) 445, FASHANU VS. ADEKOYA (1974) SC 83, A.G RIVERS VS AG BAYELSA STATE (2013) 3NWLR (PT 1340) 123.

The Complainant also submitted that PW2 stated the obvious facts in paragraphs 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,29,32 (xii) (xiii) (xiv) (xvii) (xx) (xxii) (xxiii) of his sworn statement on oath in proof of counts 1,2,3 and 4 and that the Respondent who read the witness statement on oath sworn to and adopted by the Complainant’s witnesses together with exhibits tendered in support of the Complainant’s case, did not offer any contrary evidence to that of the Complainant, thus admitting them as the truth.

It is the further submission of the complainant that as there is no contrary evidence from the respondent to put on the scale, the scale remained tilted in favour of the Complainant against the Respondent on the balance of probability, the Complainant has proved counts 1,2,3 and 4. The Complainant referred this Committee to its earlier decision in BB/LPDC/ 116: NBA VS. G.T. AHEMBE of 18t July, 2013 reported in Directions and Rulings of LPDC (April, 2013 ­April 2014) 191 where this Honourable Committee held that it is an infamous conduct of a professional sense for a counsel to hold over and refuse to pay to his Client, money recovered on behalf of the Client, contrary to Rules 1, 23 and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007.

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On Count 5, Complainant submitted that it is proved. That by Exhibit P21, the Complainant’s instructions to the Respondents were clear and unambiguous, but the Respondent went out of his instructions by compromising the debt to N110,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Ten Million Naira) only, and by that conduct in handling of this matter, he acted in breach of Rules 1, 15(3) and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007.

The Respondent in his final written address submitted that the entire evidence of PWl and PW2 are hearsay evidence inclusive of the documentary evidence Exhibits Pl-P131. The Respondent submitted that PWl through whom Exhibits P1-P35 were tendered knew nothing about the complaint or petition leading to the institution of the complaint and that he did not at any point participate in the proceedings leading to the institution of the complaints and was also not the author of any of the exhibits tendered as such, his evidence was inadmissible hearsay. He relied on the authority of IJIOFOR VS. THE STATE (2001) NWLR (PT 718) 371.

The Respondent also contended that PWl and PW2 dumped the documents Exhibits Pl-P131 on the Honourable Committee, hence according to the Respondent, PWl and PW2 were not the makers of the documents and that they did not demonstrate to the Committee the purport of the documents and the legal effect of dumping documents is that the Committee cannot accord the documents any probative value or rely on them to arrive at any decision. See WAWU VS. ABDULLAH! (2018) LPELR 45382.

The Respondent also submitted strenuously that the Complainant’s evidence contradict the complaint, that the complaint in Count 1 and 2 is that the Respondent received the sum of N6,666,666.66 (Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Sixty Six Kobo) and N66,666,666.71 (Sixty Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Naira, Seventy One Kobo) respectively but withheld them, the evidence led by the Complainant shows that these funds have been remitted by the Respondent back to the Bank.

Also, that in paragraph 18 of PW2’s deposition, PW2 testified that the Respondent paid the sum of N45,000,000.00 (Forty-Five Million Naira) only with a promise to pay the balance to the Bank by October 7, 2013.

Respondent submitted that the Committee cannot pick and choose from contradictory pieces of evidence as the duty of a judex is to reject both pieces of evidence. See KAYILI VS. YILBUK (2015) 7 NWLR (PT 1457) 26 @ 77.

The Respondent finally submitted that the Complainant did not call a vital witness therefore he urged the Committee to invoke the presumption of withholding evidence in section 167 (d) of the Evidence Act against the Complainant.

A careful and a dispassionate consideration of the facts leading to this complaint shows that the Respondent who is a Legal Practitioner was engaged by Unity Bank PLC to recover certain amount of money for the bank, it was alleged that the Respondent did in fact recover certain sums of money for the Bank but he failed to remit the said money to his Client. There is no dispute between the parties and it is also well established through Exhibit P21 that the Relationship between the Respondent and the bank was a Lawyer/ Client relationship. Also not disputed is the fact that the Respondent recovered N6,666,666.66 and N66,666,666.71 for the bank.

The Respondent did not deny the fact that he received the said sums or that he did not immediately remit the sums to the Bank, his client.

The learned Silk for the Respondent cited several cases in support of his submission that the complaint is not proved.

With utmost respect to the learned Silk, none of the cases cited considered the provisions of Rule 9 ( 1) of the Rules of this Honourable Committee as rightly submitted by the Complainant. The pronouncement of OPUTA JSC in ADEGOKE MOTORS VS. ADESANYA (1989) 3NWLR (PT 109) 250 @ 265-266 is very apt.

Rule 9( 1) of the Rules of this Committee provides;

The Evidence Act and Strict Codes of Evidence shall NOT apply in relation to proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee.”

Indeed, this Committee in its recent Direction in the case, BB/LPDC/253/2020: Incorporated Trustees of NBA v. Tupere Bruno (unreported) delivered on the 12t day of January, 2021, in response to a similar argument as the one under consideration had this to say;

• . . we are struck by the fact that in putting forward the very forceful argument, the Respondent’s Counsel failed to pay any heed to the express provisions of Rule 9 of the LPDC Rules 2020 to the effect that the Evidence Act and Strict Codes of Evidence are not applicable to proceedings before the LPDC. The rule against hearsay being founded on the Evidence Act is one of those rules which is not applicable to proceedings before the LPDC by virtue of Rule 9 of the LPDC Rules 2020.”

The Committee has no reason to change its position from the above position it had declared in the case of Incorporated Trustees of NBA v. Bruno (supra). The above notwithstanding, it is also clear to the Committee that the Respondent’s submission did not take into account the fact that he opted to rest his case on the case of the Complainant with the attendant consequences. A party who chooses to rest his case on that of his opponent, by that conduct, leaves the case of the opponent uncontroverted and therefore admitted.

See•

(i) LAU v. P.D.P. (2017) LPELR- 4 2800 (SC) at 59.

(ii) Ejide v. Ogunyemi (1990)3 NWLR (Pt. 141) 758

(iii) A. I. Egbunike & Anor v. A. C.B 1995 LPELR- 1039 (SC)

In a situation where a party fails to lead evidence but opts to rest his case on that of his opponent, minimal evidence in support of his opponent’s case is sufficient proof.

See•

(i) Adewuyi v. Odukwe (2005) LPELR – 165 (SC) at 18

(ii) Buraimoh v. Bamgbose (1989)3 NWLR (Pt. 109) 352

(iii) S. P. D. C v. EDAMKUE (2009)14 NWLR (Pt. 1160)1 at 33

(iv) Balagun v. U. B. A Ltd (1992)6 NWLR (Pt. 247) 336 at 354.

The Respondent having rested his case on the case of the Complainant is deemed to have admitted the evidence led in support of the Complainant’s case, therefore, minimal evidence from the Complainant is sufficient proof.

It is on record that the two documents tendered in evidence by the Respondent through cross-examination, Exhibits D 1 and D2 show that as late as 26t January 2018, the Respondent was still in the process of refunding to the primary Complainant the monies received on its behalf by the Respondent. The evidence on record against him, especially paragraphs 9 and 10 of the uncontroverted Witness Statement of the PW2, one Victor Eke, shows that the money the Respondent was in the process of refunding in 20 17 and 2018 were monies he received as far back as 2010 and 2012. It is also clear from the said letter of 26t January
2018, that the refund was being made with specific reference to a Petition that had been written against him by the Primary Complainant. The letter reads in part;

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The Managing Director/CEO
Unity Bank Pie
Unity Bank Tower,
Plot 735 Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Business District.

Attention: Head Legal Services Dept.

Sir,

26 January, 2018.

RE: PETITION AGAINST BARRISTER JOE ABANG TRADING UNDER NAME AND STYLE OF JOE ABANG & ASSOCIATES FOR FRAUDULENT DIVERSION AND CONVERSION OF FUNDS RECOVERED IN FAVOUR OF UNITY BANK PLC.

We remain Solicitors to Joe Abang whom we shall be referring to as our Client and on whose behalf we write this letter.

Kindly recall that on the 20 day of November, 2017 we sent three drafts to you totaling the sum of Twenty-Three Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty Naira, Eight Kobo (N23,249,620.80k) which was received at the MD’s office on 21st November, 2017.

It has now been brought to our notice that there is an outstanding balance of Five Million, Eighty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twelve Naira, Twenty Kobo (N5,083,712.20k). enclosed herewith is a draft of the above amount as full and final payment of the outstanding amount as contain in the petition against our client.

Kindly issue us a receipt as acknowledgement of the above sum. Accept the assurances of our highest regards.

Yours faithfully,

UCHENNA UGWUEZE, (MRS)
For; Kanu G. Agabi & Associates

In the face of this letter and other uncontroverted facts, it is difficult to understand the Respondent’s argument on the issue of contradictory evidence or even that of insufficient evidence. Obviously, the sum due to be refunded could not remain static given that, due to pressure mounted on the Respondent, he had embarked on instalmental refunds to the primary Complainant. Variance in the outstanding sum from time to time is not material and does not in any way address the issue of the entitlement of the Respondent to withhold any part of the money at any given time, which is the main subject of the complaint against the Respondent.

Rule 23(1) and (2) of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007, the infringement of which forms part of the Complaint against the Respondent imposes on every legal practitioner who “collects money for his client” a duty to report promptly to his client and account for the money. He is not allowed to mix such money with his own or to use it as his own. See;

(i) NBA v. Ahembe (2013 – 2014)2 LPDC (D & R) 191

(ii) NBA v. Ndukwe (2006)12 NWLR (Pt. 994)427

(iii) NBA v. Lawal Ishaq (2014 – 2017)3 LPDC (D & R) 17.

The Committee finds NO merit in the argument of the Respondent and we find the complaint against him proved in its entirety. It is shocking and most disheartening that a member of the honourable profession who has engaged himself in such odious and repulsive infamy would still indulge himself in gross technicalities such as the Respondent in this case has done. The least that would have been expected of him is to show remorse for his heinous travesty. The Committee finds that the Respondent is unfit to remain as a member of the honourable profession. He does not belong to the community of learned and honourable men.

Having carefully considered and evaluated the oral and documentary evidence placed before this Committee, the respective addresses of Counsels as well as the applicable law, we have no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion that the Respondent is liable of the act of misconduct in professional respect as alleged against him in flagrant breach of Rules 1, 14(1) (2), 15(3), 18(2), 23(1)(2)and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and punishable under section 12 of the Legal Practitioners Act, Cap. 207 LFN 1990 (as amended).

DIRECTION

We, The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, hereby find the Respondent JOE ABANG, that is, ABANG JOSEPH OSHIE, SCN 020340 Legal Practitioner whose name is on the Roll of Legal Practitioners liable for infamous conduct in the course of the performance of his duty as a Legal Practitioner as set out in counts 1, 2, 3,4 and 5 of the complaint by the Incorporated Trustees of Nigerian Bar Association filed on the 26t day of June, 2020 contrary to Rules 1, 14(1)(2),
15(3), 18(2), 23(1) and (2) and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 and punishable under S. 12(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap. 207 Vol.11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended.

We are satisfied that the appropriate order to make in the circumstance is to DIRECT the CHIEF REGISTRAR OF THE SUPREME COURT TO STRIKE OUT the name of JOE ABANG, that is, ABANG JOSEPH OSHIE from the Roll of Legal Practitioners in accordance with Rule 22(a) of the LPDC Rules 2020 and we so order.

The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court is hereby DIRECTED to effect the above Order and to make a notation of this DIRECTION against the name of the Respondent, JOE ABANG, that is, ABANG JOSEPH OSHIE on the Roll of Legal Practitioners. This Order shall forthwith be brought to the attention of the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court. We further order that NOTICE of this DIRECTION be immediately given and brought to the attention of the Respondent, (the presence of the Respondent at the proceeding of this Committee where this DIRECTION is read shall be deemed to be sufficient personal service) by publication in any edition of the PUNCH Newspaper and also by publication in the Federal Gazette as required by law.

Copies of this Direction must also be served on the President of the Nigerian Bar Association who will take steps to notify the General Council of the Bar, National Executive Committee of the NBA, and, other organs of the NBA. We also Direct that the entire Judgment encompassing this Direction shall be brought to the attention of their lordships, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, the Honourable Chief Judge of the High Court of the FCT, Federal High Court and the High Court of all other States of the Federation, President of the Customary Court of Appeal of all the States of the Federation and the FCT, the Customary Court of all the States of the Federation and the heads of all other Courts wherein a legal practitioner is entitled to audience by virtue of his office as a legal practitioner in Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the entire Attorneys’ General of the remaining 36 States of the Federation. The order shall also be served on the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police of Lagos State and the respective Commissioners of Police in the other States of the Federation.

This shall be the Direction of this Committee.

1. EMMANUEL C. UKALA S.A.N.
Chairman, Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.

Source: BarristerNG

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