The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee has dismissed the petition filed before by the Nigerian Bar Association asking that partners of Wole Olanipekun & Co be investigated over accusations of professional misconduct.
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 member of the Chambers, Adekumbi Ogunde, soliciting a brief from SAIPEM, in a $130m suit against the Rivers State government.
The brief was already being handled by the chambers of Odein Ajumogobia, a former minister.
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, to recuse himself as Chairman over the incident.
Akpata wrote Olanipekun despite the denial by the writer of the letter to SAIPEM, Ogunde that the principal partners of the Chambers were not aware of the letter.
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, the initial review concluded that since there is no evidence to show that 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 granted.
The extract read, “With regards to the applicant’s prayer to also 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 partners’ express and constant denial of the content of Exhibit 1 to the effect that the respondent acted without the authority or 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 see no merit in recommending further investigation against the partners of Wole Olanipekun &Co. I so hold.”