RESPONSE TO ALLEGATION OF BRIEF SNATCHING IN JACOB GAADI & 13 ORS V J-K GADZAMA, SAN & ORS (FHC/ABJ/CS/321/2015) AND APPEAL NO. CA/E/410/2008
1. Recently, my attention was drawn to allegations of brief snatching in certain renowned matters which Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN handled as lead counsel.
2. The said allegations are replete with falsehood and largely untrue.
3. Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN has never and will never conduct himself in such a manner that is detrimental to the status of the legal profession and Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
4. I maintain that the Learned Silk was solely acting in accordance with the wishes of his clients in the aforementioned matter with suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/321/2015.
5. It will interest you to know that on various court proceedings in respect of the referenced matter at the FHC, the Judgment Creditors were present in court and confirmed the Learned Silk on record as their counsel.
6. I know for a fact that by a letter dated May 22, 2015, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN was instructed to initiate proceedings to set aside the consent judgment at the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/E/410/2008.
7. I am also aware that Mr. Ocha Ulegede had been debriefed by the clients from handling the said matter on their behalf via various letters.
8. Several attempts were made by the Learned Silk and other persons to incorporate Mr. Ocha Ulegede into the team handling the matter. However, Mr. Ulegede declined despite repeated assurances that all outstanding fees will be paid to him.
9. On the Court of Appeal issue, a former counsel in the Learned Silk’s chambers had filed a Notice of Change of Counsel but this was unknown to the Learned Justice because the Notice was not part of the records that were before the Court of Appeal in that matter.
10. I know for a fact that the Learned Silk never signed any process or appeared during the pendency of the matter at the Court of Appeal. The finding of the Court of Appeal was reached without hearing both sides on the issue of change of Counsel.
11. The Learned Silk commenced an appeal at the Supreme Court on February 14, 2017 in relation to the referenced matter based on a letter dated January 2017 wherein the clients engaged the firm of J-K Gadzama LLP to appeal against the ruling of the Court of Appeal delivered in respect of an application to set aside the consent judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/E/410/2008.
12. Upon institution of the appeal at the Supreme Court, Mr. Ocha Ulegede took steps to induce some of the parties to withdraw the appeal.
13. The attempts made by Mr. Ocha Ulegede were largely unsuccessful. Despite his unsuccessful attempts, he has continued to taint the image and reputation of the Learned Silk.
14. Some of the Judgment Creditors in the referenced matter before the FHC whom the Learned Silk represented in the appeal were also desirous of pursuing the appeal and as such, he was instructed to prosecute the appeal on their behalf.
15. Although, some of the Judgment Creditors were induced to make a petition against the Learned Silk to the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC), they have since withdrawn these petitions submitted.
16. Also, in confirmation of the Learned Silk’s capacity as counsel of choice of the Judgment Creditors, he was made a signatory to endorse the sharing formula of the Garnishee Order Absolute made on August 19, 2019 by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja in satisfying the judgment sum of the Court of Appeal, Enugu.
17. I restate that the Learned Silk’s involvement at every stage of this matter has been at the directive of the Judgment Creditors in the matter and in pursuit of their best interests.
18. This clarification has become necessary for record purposes and to set the records straight in the face of politically motivated campaign of calumny against the Learned Silk.
19. Thankfully, as lawyers, we all have the ability to discern truth from fallacy. God bless us all.
Chukwudi Prince Oli, Esq.
DG Vox Populi Foundation
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