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Dec 19, 2018

As A Lawyer, These Facts Should Bother You


PU is surely facing his music. He personally took his plea yesterday. However, bear in mind that you also receive professional fees from clients, no matter how small. By the precedent being set in this case, your account could be investigated at any time and the result could be the same, if you do not scrutinize the sources of your fees.

The problem is not that PU is being prosecuted. The problem is the attempt to persecute him. Even if he is not NBA President, an average lawyer should interrogate the fact that charges preferred against a defendant were published in the social and print media up to a week before he got to be served. In other words, he first got notice of his charge and proposed arraignment from the media. 

As if that is not enough, he presented himself in court and EFCC did not come to court with that same charge that was published over a week before. The state rather invited him to come to their office to be served. It does not matter that by so doing, EFCC wasted the time of the court and all the lawyers and persons that attended the proceedings of that day. Note that the said EFCC office is just about 10 minutes’ drive to the court. So a fair-minded prosecutor could have simply sent for an officer to pick it up and bring to court.

The defendant presented himself for service and EFCC delayed him for about two hours before serving him with the charge and proof of evidence. They further delayed him for another two hours and indeed threatened to detain him, despite the fact that the matter was already before the court and the charge duly served on him. Anyway, they released him. 

On the day for arraignment, he expressed the fear that based on the events so far, he did not believe that he could get justice from the judge that was assigned to try him. The judge insisted on going on, pending the CJ's decision, in defiance of all known authorities to the contrary. The defendant took the plea and was granted bail on stringent conditions. Stringent because, this defendant is a distinguished and SAN, and generally SANs have always been granted bail on self recognisance. There is no record of him not honouring any proper invitation by the State at any time to suggest that he could jump bail. Moreover, he is the NBA President. 

Friday, if these facts, do not bother you as a lawyer, irrespective of whether the defendant is a lawyer or not, an SAN or not, the NBA president or not, I am bereft of words.

Sixtus Onuka
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