Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde Partner in the Law firm of Wole Olanipekun and Co who is enmeshed in the alleged unprofessional solicitation of brief from SAIPEM has cleared the air on the non involvement of the Firm in the imbroglio.
In a press release, Ms. Ogunde confirmed that she wrote the letter without the consent of the principal partners of the firm and apologized for exercising such amount of indiscretion.
This was coming on the heels of a disclaimer issued by Wole Olanipekun & Co, dissociating the firm and its founding father, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN from letter written by a junior partner in the firm, Adekunmbi Ogunde to Francesca Caio of SAIPEM, soliciting to handle the firm’s $130 million claim against Rivers State Government.
In the disclaimer signed by two associates of the firm, James Adesulu, and Quam Owolabi Bisiriyu, and addressed to Mr Caio, the firm stated that the letter was written without the instruction of the Chief Olanipekun as the founding father, and his son, Bode, also a senior advocate.
Miss Ogunde who joined the 42 year old law firm less than seven months ago, had written a letter to Caio, a senior official of the oil company soliciting for the brief, more than two months after both SAIPEM and Rivers State government had reached an out of court settlement on the brief.
But the firm stated in the disclaimer to Caio that “the letter was written without the instruction, authority, mandate, approval, or consent of Wole Olanipekun & Co. It was also not brought to our attention by the writer. It has never been the practice of our law firm to solicit for cases or clientele, and we shall never indulge ourselves in this practice and trend”.
The writer, Miss Ogunde also confirmed that she wrote the letter without the consent of the principal partners of the firm. “I wrote an email to Saipem on 20th June, 2022, without the consent or knowledge of either the Founding Partner or the Managing Partner of the firm, Mr. Bode Olanipekun SAN. I found out about the Saipem matter through an online article, and I unilaterally reached out to Saipem about the said matter, which unknown to me, was no longer before the court. My limited knowledge about the litigation space came to bare because, had I consulted with other persons conversant with the recent happenings in the litigation circles, I would have been informed that the matter between Saipem and the Rivers State Government had been settled out of court about two (2) months prior to my email of 20th June, 2022. Therefore, as at the time of writing the said email, there was no such pending matter before the court”.
She stated further: “I was admitted into the partnership of the firm in December 2021, to supervise and oversee the firm’s corporate & commercial practice, having worked on various transactions in that area for over 12 years. I have never really played an active role in the Nigerian litigation space, and am largely unfamiliar with a lot of its inner intricacies. My limited knowledge of litigation is mainly based on the experience which I garnered during my early years of practice, and my occasional appearance in court to watch some of the finest, brilliant and refined minds in the legal profession – my father, Mr. Oluwemimo Ogunde SAN, the Founding Partner of the firm, Chief Olanipekun SAN, OFR, and other distinguished persons in the legal profession, display their impeccable and almost-flawless oratory and legal skills. I am therefore not conversant, to any great extent, with what goes on in the litigation circles – at least as far as legal matters/cases in court are concerned”.
The Managing Partner of the firm, Mr Bode Olanipekun SAN also in a letter to SAIPEM’s lawyer, Odein Ajumogobia SAN, stated the position of the Wole Olanipekun chambers.
How it all began