culled from Thisday Newspaper
The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) has directed that Kunle Kalejaiye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and counsel to a former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, be disbarred after he was found guilty of professional misconduct.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 yesterday, 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.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 was about filing his 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. Section 11(8) of the LPA states that: “A direction of the disciplinary committee under subsection (1) or subsection (2) of this section shall take effect:
(a) where no appeal under this section is brought against the direction within the time limited for the appeal, on the expiration of that time;
(b) where such an appeal is brought and is withdrawn or struck out for want of prosecution, on the withdrawal or striking out of the appeal;
(c) where such an appeal is brought and is not withdrawn or struck out as aforesaid, if and when the appeal is dismissed, and shall not take effect except in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this subsection.
The case against Kalejaiye was that between March and June 2008, while acting for a party in the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal, engaged “confidential, private and confidential telephone conversation” with the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Thomas Naron, without the knowledge of the other party. Kalejaiye represented the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the then governor of the State, Oyinlola, at the tribunal which heard the petition by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidate at the 2007 governorship election. 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.