Wednesday, May 17, 2017 5:52 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
A Lagos base Legal practitioner, Chief Nelson Imoh, practicing under the name and style of Nelson and Nelson chambers, has slammed N5billion suit on Union bank of Nigeria Plc for allegedly authoring a letter that has tarnished his reputation. The case is pending before a Lagos high court.
In a related development a Federal high court has also reserved judgement till Friday 19th of May, 2017 in another suit instituted by Chief Nelson Imoh against Union bank and EFCC over unlawful detention. The legal practitioner in this separate suit is claiming the sum of N10 billion as damages over unlawful detention by EFCC instigated by Union bank of Nigeria Plc. Joined as co -defendant in the ensuing legal warfare is the AG Head legal services of the bank Mrs Junoke Lambo.
According to statement of claim filed before a Lagos high court by Chief Nelson Imoh, what led to the current legal hostility started sometime in August, 2012 ,when Chief Imoh on behalf of Okitipupa Oil Palm Traders Association instituted a legal action against Okitipupa Oil Palm at the Akure high court, Ondo state, south west Nigeria.
At the end of the trial, judgment was delivered in favour of his clients on 5th of June, 2014 and judgement sum of N34.4 million was awarded against Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc, plus N250,000 as cost, interest on the said judgement sum at 10% per annum.
Thereafter, he applied for and obtained an order against Some banks including Union bank for the purpose of realizing the judgement sum, but Union bank did not appear to show cause.
Consequently the order of the court and judgement were registered before the registry of the Lagos state high court. He then applied to the deputy Sheriff of the court who, after being satisfied that the order and the judgement were genuine, applied to the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police for security approval to levy execution. Execution was levied, the bank issued master cheque in draft to cover the judgement sum.
However Chief Imoh averred that despite the fuller participation of the defendant in all the proceedings (who ought to know that there was nothing unethical and fraudulent for legal practitioner to ensure the execution of a valid judgment of a court and to receive payment of the judgement sum on behalf of his client as directed by court authored), he doctored and forwarded to the President of the Nigeria bar Association ,Nigeria bar Association disciplinary committee a concocted, strange, spurious, libelous, damaging and utterly mendaciously spurned petition with fiendish intent of denigrating him and his law practice, accusing him of unprofessional and unethical conduct.
The bank also goaded their solicitor to replicate the same publication and the alleged libelous endeavours vide their letter to EFCC, consequent upon which himself and his associates in chambers were illegally, capriciously and unlawfully arrested, humiliated and detained by the EFCC despite the pendency and continuation of the various contentious issues in court.
Chief Imoh stated further that in the course of his sojourn in the legal profession, he has acquired tremendous good will, has been properly nurtured and groomed in the conduct and behavioral consistency expected of a legal practitioner ,with singular honour of having worked with two Senior Advocates of Nigeria SANs in the weighty persons of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN, SAM. It was in his chambers that he was professionally brought up from position of litigation clerk, called to the bar and occupied an enviable position of Assistant Editor, Nigerian Weekly Law Reports. He worked also at Mogbeyi Sagay, SAN where he retired as the head of chambers in, 2007.
Therefore, by the maliciously actuated letter and corrosive publication by Union bank of Nigeria Plc , he has been portrayed amongst his colleagues, professional associates, Union bank staff, mail handlers, court officials, NBA National Headquarters staff, clients and the general public as a serial dupe, not worthy in conduct and character of being a legal practitioner of serious repute.
Consequently, Chief Nelson Imoh is claiming the sum of N5 billion jointly and severally against Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and its head of legal services, Mrs Jumoke Lambo being damages for libel contained in their letter dated 1st of June, 2016, to the members of the Nigeria Bar Association disciplinary committee National Headquarters Abuja.
Chief Imoh is also urging the court to restrain the bank and its agents from further publishing and circulating such libelous letter.