The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) has thrown out the petition filed before it by the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) asking that partners of Wole Olanipekun&Co be investigated over ambulance chasing accusations.
In a petition dated July 19, 2022, NBA through its Vice President, John Aikpkokpo-Martins filed the petition against Wole Olanipekun’s chambers over a letter written by a staff of the Chambers, Ms Adekumbi Ogunde, soliciting a brief from SAIPEM, in a $130 million suit against the Rivers State government. The brief was already being handled by the chambers of Odein Ajumogobia, a former Attorney General of Rivers State.
Three days after, precisely on July 22, 2022, NBA President, Olumide Akpata wrote to the founder of the Chambers, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, who is also the Chairman, Body of Benchers (BoB), to recuse himself as Chairman over the incident. This was despite the denial by the writer of the letter to SAIPEM, Ms Adekunbi Ogunde’s that the principal partners of the Chambers were not aware of the letter. Moreover, Ms Ogunde’s letter was written more than two months after both SAIPEM and Rivers State government had reached an out of court settlement on the brief. The writer herself was then about seven months old with the chambers.
However, in an extract signed by the Secretary of the LPDC, Mr. Daniel Tela Esq., the initial member review concluded that since there is no evidence to show that Adekunbi Ogunde acted with the consent of the Partners of the law firm, the Applicant’s prayer for an investigation of the law firm cannot be grounded in law.
The extract stated: “With response to the Applicant’s prayer to consider whether the firm of Wole Olanipekun & Co are not liable to be disciplined, I hold the humble view that since there is no evidence to show that the Respondent indeed acted with the knowledge and consent of the Principal Partners, especially with the Partner’s constant denial of the content of Exhibit 1 to the effect that the Respondent acted without the authority and consent of the Principal Partners or the firm, I cannot situate the angle of the Applicant’s prayer to both the Act and the Rules;
Accordingly, I no see merit in recommending further investigation against the partners of Wole Olanipekun &Co. I so hold”.
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