HomeNewsInfluence Peddling Saga: LPDC Disbars Adekunbi Ogunde

Influence Peddling Saga: LPDC Disbars Adekunbi Ogunde

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At last, the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) has withdrawn the practicing licence of Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde, a lawyer formerly in the law firm of Wole Olanipekun and Co, and struck off her name from the roll of legal practitioners in Nigeria.

The withdrawal of Ogunde’s practicing licence, which was announced yesterday, followed the LPDC’s findings that she violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.

Ogunde was alleged to have written an email to Saipem Oil Limited, an international oil company, to win its brief from the law firm of Okeke & Ajumogobia in a case against Rivers State Government.

The letter was, however, viewed as an unprofessional and surreptitious attempt to solicit a brief from Saipem SPA, knowing that another firm was already handling the case.

The letter allegedly touted the supposed overriding influence of the firm’s principal partner, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, who was the chairman of the Body of Benchers and a respected past President of the NBA.

This compelled the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Ogunde for violating the sacred rules of professional conduct, particularly Rule 1.

In a petition that was dated July 19, 2022, the NBA prayed the LPDC to immediately commence the disciplinary process and prosecute Ogunde.

The petition also sought the LPDC’s opinion on whether the partners of Wole Olanipekun & Co. should also be disciplined, considering Ogunde’s ostensible authority to act as a partner and her actions on behalf of the firm.

The petition, numbered BB/LPDC/901/2022, was filed by NBA 1st Vice President, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins, who stated that Ogunde was expected to exhibit and maintain a very high standard of conduct, professionalism, and respect for the integrity of the court and the judicial process when discharging her professional duties.

The NBA noted that members of the association were surprised by the contents of the letter, which allegedly originated from the esteemed office of Wole Olanipekun & Co.
The legal profession and the general public were disturbed by this infamous letter, and the NBA had hoped that the allegations were false.

However, alleged letters from Wole Olanipekun & Co. apologising for Ogunde’s actions and disclaiming her confirmed the authenticity of the allegations.

The inception of the investigation constrained Ogunde to take a leave of absence from the Wole Olanipekun and Co in 2022, ostensibly to enable her time to undergo necessary courses to equip herself better in dealing with professional and life issues.

It was further alleged that Ogunde announced that she would involve herself with community and social work pro bono, with a few selected NGOs.

She promises to be back at a later time after consultation with her parents, senior colleagues, and well-wishers.

But her return is now very unlikely following the striking off of her name from the roll of legal practitioners in Nigeria.

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