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3 Lawyers Docked For Impersonating CBN, Unity Bank In N52m Judgment Debt

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The Federal Government has charged three Abuja-based legal practitioners before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on four counts of criminal charges, bordering on false information with the intent to mislead the Court into entering a N52m consent judgment in their favour.

The prosecution agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) told the court that the offences are contrary to sections 96 and 140 of the Panel Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

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The lawyers are Messrs Maxwell Opara, Gold Nwankwo and Jubilate Obasikene, all practising in the law firm of Maxwell Opara and Associates.

The charge filed marked CR/444/2022 and by the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Buba followed a petition by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, to the Chairman of the EFCC, accusing the lawyers of fraudulent representation and impersonation.

They were alleged to have fraudulently entered appearances for the CBN and Unity Bank Plc, without the consent and authorization of the banks in an appeal in respect of garnishee proceedings involving the sum of N52 million, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja division.

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The proceedings were in respect of appeal No: CA/A/18M/2017, between Mr. Godwin Emmanuel Vs Chris Obot. Ambo Top Nig Ltd, Unity Bank Plc and CBN.

The appeal arose from garnishee proceedings wherein the CBN was served with an order Nisi dated November 3, 2015, by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gwagwalada, Abuja.

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The Court of Appeal had granted the CBN leave to appeal against the judgment of the lower court on the condition that the entire judgment sum of N52m be deposited to the deputy Registrar to be kept in an interest-yielding account in a commercial bank within 30 days from the date of the ruling, pending the determination of the appeal.

The CBN said it was surprising to learn that the matter came up for hearing on September 9, 2020, and that on that day, based on the application filed by counsel to the judgment creditor, Maxwell Opara, the court ordered that the judgment sum be released to the judgment creditor.

The bank asserted that its concern was the fact that neither the bank nor its counsel was served with any hearing notice in respect of the proceedings of September 9, 2020.

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That it was further informed that CBN was purportedly represented by one Gold Nwankwo in the proceedings of September 9, 2020, a counsel unknown to or briefed by the bank nor affiliated in any way to any of its external solicitors.

That in the same vein, One Okechukwu Jubilate Obasikene was said not to have the authority of Unity bank and also appeared for Unity bank in the proceedings.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that the said Gold Nwankwo was listed on the letterhead of Messrs. Maxwell Opara and Associates(counsel to the judgment creditor), as one of its lawyers in chambers.

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That it, therefore, appears that the counsel from the chambers of Messrs. Maxwell Opara and Associates representing the judgment creditor, might have colluded to deceive the Court of Appeal by impersonating the counsel briefed by the CBN, contrary to the legal practitioners’ rules of professional conduct.

Meanwhile, when the case was called for trial, the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Buba informed the court about the absence of witnesses from the CBN and Unity Bank in court.

He, therefore, urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him produce them in court.

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Following the consent of the defence of counsel, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the case to February 1 and 2, 2023 for trial.

The charge marked CR/444/2022, and dated August 26, 2022, reads:
“That you Barrister Maxwell Okpara and Barrister Gold Nwankwo sometime in September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did conspire to commit an offence to wit: giving false information with intent to mislead public servant and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, and punishable under section 97 of the same law.

”That you Barrister Gold Nwankwo on the 9th day of September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did inform the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja that you were representing the Central Bank of Nigeria during the hearing of appeal No CA/A/18/M/2017 and consented to the withdrawal and striking of the motion paper dated August 29, 2020 and filed on September 1, 2020, knowing that the Central Bank of Nigeria never authorised you to represent it in the proceedings, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 140 of the Penal Code law of the Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and punishable under section 140 of the same law.

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”That you Barrister Maxwell Okpara and Barrister Jubilate Obasikene sometime in September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did conspire to commit an offence to wit: giving false information with the intent to mislead public servant and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, and punishable under section 97 of the same law.

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”That you Barrister Jubilate Obasikene on the 9th of September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did inform the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, that you represented the Unity Bank Plc during the hearing of appeal No CA/A/18/M/2017, and consented to the withdrawal and striking out of the motion paper dated August 29, 2020, and filed on September 1, 2020, knowing that the Unity Bank Plc never authorised you to represent it in the proceedings and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 140 of the Penal Code law of the Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and punishable under section 140 of the same law.

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2nd House Prize Winner Emerges In Festival Of Joy Promo Draw In Port Harcourt

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Foremost mobile network operator, Globacom, on Thursday held a draw to select the winner of a second three-bedroom house prize in Port Harcourt in furtherance of its Festival of Joy loyalty reward promo.

In a press statement issued by the company after the Port Harcourt draw, Globacom encouraged subscribers who desire to win prizes in the promo to dial *611# and keep recharging (voice and data during the promo period) to qualify for the draw.

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The winning number was drawn by an elderly Glo subscriber, Mr. Ogbomade Sampson Joe, who was present at the Gloworld to transact business. It was witnessed by several Glo subscribers, the media as well as Mr. Koko Finny, the representative of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) in Port Harcourt.

READ ALSO: Glo Festival Of Joy Train Arrives Lagos With Brand New Car, Other Prizes

The lucky Glo subscriber who emerged winner in the draw will receive the house prize at a presentation ceremony billed for Friday, December 9, 2022.

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Three lucky Glo subscribers had previously become landlords in Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt courtesy of Glo Festival of Joy promo which has on offer, 20 houses, 24 brand new cars, 100 generators, 200 sewing machines and 1,000 rechargeable fans.

 

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Abducted Ondo Monarch Regains Freedom

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The monarch of Oso Ajowa Akoko in in Akoko North-West Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Clement Jimoh, who was kidnapped, has regained freedom.

The traditional ruler, who was abducted in his palace, was set free by the bandits after he had spent seven days in their den.

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According to a family source, the monarch was freed on Wednesday evening and he had been taken to the hospital where he was receiving treatment.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Ondo Monarch, Police Launch Probe

Kabiyesi regained freedom yesterday (Wednesday) evening but he has been taken to the hospital for treatment,” the source stated.

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