Dec 8, 2018

It Should Not Be The Duty Of A Lawyer To Investigate The Source Of Clients' Funds


I have now read the statement credited to Mr Okutepa SAN and yes he is correct that EFCC has a right to investigate anyone and that lawyers are also subject to the jurisdiction of the Court and yes the NBA President does not have immunity from investigation nor prosecution. 


I however disagree with him on his submission that the fees for work done for an individual came from state coffers. This in my view is a clear evidence that he either did not read the aide memoir attached to the NBA President's address to NEC or he chose to ignore it's content. 

My recollection of the charge posted on social media is that it's in connection with the sum of 1.7B received from AKSG as fees for work done by PUC for AKSG. The fee for the election petition was the sum of 300m which was paid into PUC account by the Client either directly or through a proxy but definitely not directly from the account of AKSG. Let us assume that the money was first taken from AKSG account and then ferried to PUCs how is the recipient expected to know that information not having been involved in the paying of the monies into the account.

Furthermore, the statement betrays the possibility of the truthfulness of the idea that the timing of the Charge is a function of the 'pain' still being experienced by some of those who lost the election to PUSAN. Whilst the learned Silk Okutepa may not see, as of now, how the issue affects the generality of the Bar I pray that he will never have to experience the need to explain how his Client got the money with which his fees was paid as a result of this precedent that he wants established and that is simply because the precedent shall never be established. 

The day will never come that a lawyer will have to, in addition to thinking how he will best serve his client's cause, he will also have to consider where the Client is sourcing money to pay him as long as he is not engaged in actively or otherwise involved in advising the Client to embark on criminalities to be able to pay the fees.

The present siege on the person of Paul Usoro SAN is the next stage in the fight for the soul of Nigeria outside of the realm of politic and politician. The first stage was in the invasion of the homes of our judicial officers which many of us chose to ignore and some spoke in favour of and which has obviously failed to achieve it major agenda though it did serve to send out some 'lessons'. After this stage I pray it will not be your or my turn as individual lawyers.

I rest at this point and will post some of the things I've had cause to say on several other fora in respect of this matter of this Charge against the person of the President of the NBA.

Kayode Enitan
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