I Will Charge you before LPDC for obtaining money by False Pretense if…….. – NBA President, Maikyau SAN Writes NBA Ex-VP, Aikpokpo-Martins

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, YC Maikyau SAN has directed the immediate past 1st Vice President of the Association, John Aikpokpo Martins to refund some money collected by the members of the General Council of the Bar, GCB to cover their sitting expenses for a meeting held on the 28th day of November 2023.

 

Mr Aikpokpo was also the Chairman of the NBA SPIDEL before his leadership was dissolved by NBA NEC at Jos Plateau State in February.

In the letter seen by Barristerng.com, the NBA President accused Aikpokpo Martins of obtaining the sitting allowance from the Attorney General of the Federation by false pretense. He denied the claim by GCB Members that he refused to fund their sitting expenses and refereed to instances where the NBA paid and refunded some money incurred by the GCB members.

 

SEE THE FULL LETTER BELOW

John Obaika Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq.

Dear Aikpokpo-Martins,

OBTAINING BY FALSE PRETENCE AND NOTICE OF INTENTION TO COMMENCE DISCIPLINARY ACTION BEFORE THE LEGAL PRACTITIONERS’ DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE (LPDC).

My attention was brought to the fact that, you, as an elected representative of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to the General Council of the Bar (GCB), demanded for and collected money from the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Justice, to cover your expenses for the meeting of the GCB you attended on 29 November 2023.

The said demand was made by you under the pretext that “the President of the NBA has communicated the Association’s inability to fund the traveling and accommodation expenses of NBA representatives (who represent more than One Hundred Thousand Nigerian lawyers), leaving us in a challenging situation.

The Budget Committee’s proposals for these expenses were presented at the last meeting but were not addressed in the recent invitation”. A copy of the letter dated 24 November 2023, signed by you and one Victor C. Onwuere Esq, is attached for ease of reference.

As at the time of making the above-quoted assertion in the letter under reference, you knew that there was no such communication to you by the President of the NBA, and there was no request for payment of, or refund for traveling and accommodation expenses made to the NBA by you. You know that as a practice, NBA will pay for or refund travel and accommodation expenses, whenever such was incurred in the course any assignment approved by the President or the National Executive Council (NEC), upon a demand made and treated through the established process of payment within the NBA. Following your request for refund of the cost of flight tickets to the 20 members of NBA in GCB who attended the inaugural meeting of the GCB on 9 January 2023, payment was accordingly made as per the invoice presented to the office of the President. A copy of the invoice you presented and the Access Bank receipt for the payments made are hereto attached.

Similarly, for instance, when you attended the proceedings at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) in the matter between the Incorporated Trustees of the NBA and Adekunbi Ogunde, the request for your accommodation and travel expenses was settled. A copy of the memo by which you were paid, and the Access Bank Receipt thereof are hereto attached.

Your conduct or action in this instance, is clearly a case of obtaining by false pretence, it was unethical, unprofessional; a conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner and constitutes gross misconduct on your part. I, therefore, hereby direct that you immediately refund all monies collected or paid to you by the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation on the strength of your false pretence within seven (7) days from the date of receipt of this letter. Failing which, I will have no option than to commence disciplinary action against you before the LPDC, and this I shall do without further notice to you. This is without prejudice to the right of the NBA to initiate any other complaint against you as it may deem appropriate.

Please accept the assurances of my esteemed professional regards.


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