An Abuja-based lawyer, Anthony Ejumejowo, Principal of Ejumejowo & Associates Chamber, has dragged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives member for Isoko federal constituency, Delta State, Jonathan Ukodhiko to a high court of the Federal Capital Territory in the Abuja judicial division over N99.6 million professional fees alleged owed him by the lawmaker.
It was gathered that Ukodhiko had hired the services of Ejumejowo following the sealing of his properties and freezing of his 48 banks accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after which the lawmaker allegedly refused to pay the lawyer his professional fees as agreed.
The EFCC in June launched a manhunt for Ukodhiko over an alleged failed business transaction leading to the sealing of his properties and freezing of over 40 bank accounts belonging to him following a court order.
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State had given the order in a suit marked FHC/PH/CS/88/2023. However, the order has been vacated.
In a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/6943/2023, filed by Ejumejowo’s counsel, T. J. Jack (Miss) and E. Agbaragu (Esq) in Abuja, Anthony Ejumejowo is the claimant and Jonathan Ukodhiko is the 1st defendant while his two companies, Joeny Integrated Services Limited and Joeny Holdings Limited, are the 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.
In a 33-paragraph statement of claims, the claimant averred that on June 4, 2023, at about 8.20 am, he received a call from the 1st defendant requesting that he should represent him and the 2nd and 3rd defendants in a legal matter they had with the EFCC and other parties.
According to the claimant, before the said call from the 1st defendant, he had no previous personal relationship whatsoever with him.
He said the 1st defendant informed him that he obtained his phone number from one Mr. Omoviro Williams Kingibe, a mutual friend and that the 1st defendant informed him that he and other management staff members of the 2nd and 3rd defendants had been declared wanted by the EFCC and that the offices of the 2nd and 3rd defendants in Port Harcourt had been sealed.
He said he was told by the 1st defendant that his bank accounts and those of the 2nd and 3rd defendants had also been frozen.
He said the 1st defendant told him that the grand plan of the creditors of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants was to have the EFCC arrest and detain him, to stop his inauguration as a House of Representatives member which was slated for June 13, 2023 and for that reason he was afraid to return to Nigeria from Scotland where he had gone for the graduation ceremony of his daughter.
The lawyer said he pleaded with him to do everything possible to stop his arrest and detention by the EFCC, among other things.
The claimant averred that among other things in the course of communication between him and the 1st defendant around June 4, 2023 and June 8, 2023, he offered legal services including oral legal advice over the phone and written documents he sent to the 1st defendant and the Managing Director of the 2nd and 3rd defendants.
According to the lawyer, the 1st defendant and one Moses Unuavboroh, a staff member of the 2nd and 3rd defendants have continued to evade him since they received the bill for his professional services.
The claimant’s claims against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants jointly and severally are as follows:
“A DECLARATION of this honorable court that the 1st defendant having briefed the claimant on behalf of himself, the 2nd and 3rd defendant to represent them at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and to render to them legal advice, the claimant is entitled to the payment of his professional fee for the legal services rendered to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendant.
“A DECLARATION of this honorable court that the claimant is entitled to the payment of the sum of N49,600,000.00 (forty-nine million, six hundred thousand naira) only from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendant as the balance of his professional fees.
“AN ORDER of this honorable court directing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants to pay to the claimant the sum of N49,600,000.00 (forty-nine million, six hundred thousand naira) only from the 1st and 2nd defendants as the balance of his professional fees.
“AN ORDER of this honorable court directing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants to pay to the claimant the sum of N10,000,000.00 (ten million naira) only as general damages. N20,000, 000.00 (twenty million naira) only as special damages. N20,000, 000.00 (twenty million naira) only as exemplary damages. To pay to the claimant an amount representing 10% pre-judgement interest per annum on the sum of N49,600, 000.00 (forty-nine million, six hundred thousand naira) only commencing from June 2023 until judgement is delivered.
“AN ORDER of this honorable court directing the 1st and 2nd defendants to pay to the claimant an amount representing 10% post-judgement interest per annum on the judgement from the date of the delivery of the judgement of this honorable court until the liquidation of the same.”
Meanwhile, efforts to reach Ukodhiko for comments failed as he did not answer calls from our correspondent. He also did not reply to the text message sent to him.