Kalejaiye loses SAN rank, barred from legal practice

Kalejaiye loses SAN rank, barred from legal practice

Friday, May 22, 2015 8:46 am

A senior Nigerian lawyer, Kunle Kalejaiye, has been stripped of his rank as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The stripping is one of several disciplinary measures against Mr. Kalejaiye, slammed by Nigeria’s Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee. He was also barred from legal practice.

Kalejaiye, left, in court with Otunba Gbenga Daniel

Kalejaiye, left, in court with Otunba Gbenga Daniel

Kalejaiye was exposed in TheNEWS magazine publication for exchanging text messages with the Osun State election tribunal judge, Thomas Naron, during the election litigation between former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State and the state’s current governor, Rauf Aregbesola. He was the lead lawyer for Oyinlola.

The committee directed the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to delete his name from the Roll (list) of legal practitioners in the country.

In a directive (judgment) issued Thursday, a five-man panel led by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, found that the complainant, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), represented by Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) proved its case of professional misconduct against Kalejaiye.

The committee also directed that its decision should be served on the President of NBA, the chief judges of all the states of the federation, the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Inspector General of Police (IG) and all states’ commissioners of police.

It also directed that the decision be published in the media.

Prince Oyinlola: he was represented by Kalejaiye

Prince Oyinlola: he was represented by Kalejaiye

The presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ekiti Division, Justice Paul Galinje, who read the directive, held that the prosecution proved its three-count complaint and that Kalejaiye violated the provisions of sections 1, 15, 30, 31, 34 and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (2007).

However, Kalejaiye’s lawyer, Niyi Owolade, a former Attorney General of Osun State, has objected to the LPDC’s decision. He said his client would file an appeal at the Supreme Court.

Under the Legal Practitioners Act (LPA), Kalejaiye has up to 28 days to appeal the decision, failing which it will become effective.

Justice Naron has since been compulsorily retired having been found guilty of professional misconduct by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The LPDC rejected Kalejaiye’s defence to the effect that his telephone number was cloned, on the ground that while he was able to show, by expert evidence, that spoofing, as a general phenomenon was possible, he failed to show that spoofing was possible on the MTN network (which owned the lines with which Kalejaiye and Naron communicated) rather than demonstrating such possibility with Etisalat and Glo networks.

The committee also faulted Kalejaiye’s documentary evidence, mostly newspaper publications (including advertorial sponsored by Kalejaiye) faulting the authenticity of the call log from MTN.

The committee said it would have been more helpful had Kalejaiye applied and got his call log from MTN to prove that the one tendered by the prosecution was not the actual one.

*Originally reported by Thisday

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