RE: 739 Lawyers to defend Paul Usoro SAN.

Before these unknown and unnamed lawyers deceive themselves and mislead the general public, we should know clearly what the facts are.
When the news broke of Paul Usoro SAN’s arrest by EFCC, I did not believe it but when some supporters of Paul Usoro SAN started posting videos of Paul Usoro SAN inspecting the venue of NBA NEC meeting, my suspicion antennas went up and I went sniffing.
These are Facts:
1.Paul Usoro SAN has the right to charge any amount as his professional fee.
2.The Legal Profession is not on trial but Paul Usoro SAN’s Conduct.
3.Paul Usoro SAN was paid from Government account for matters he did for a private citizen.
As the news is unfolding, I was willing to take it as smear campaign of calumny to discredit him but with the provision of Charge number FHC/418C/18 signed and filed at Federal High Court Lagos by Rotimi Oyedepo, Counsel to EFCC, we cannot help but take the matter seriously and give it the attention it deserves.
We are constrained to do this, as some lawyers are deliberately trying to mislead and deceive the general public as to what the issues are.
Usoro’s co-defendants are; Nsikan Nkan, described as Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State; Mfon Udomah, described as the Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, described as the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; and Margaret Ukpe, all of whom are said to be at large.
With these co-defendants, the issue can never be of issue of professional fees charged as being put up by Paul Usoro’s supporters.
More also, this alleged offense was committed in 2015, clear 3 years before Paul Usoro was “elected” to become NBA President.
The legal practice is neither on trial nor is EFCC trying to stop lawyers from charging professional fees. The question is, does Paul Usoro have the right to be paid from the coffers of Akwa Ibom State Government for briefs he and his law firm handled for the Governor in the Governor’s personal capacity?
As a senior lawyer, when Paul Usoro SAN became aware of this irregularity, what did he do? What he did or failed to do, becomes an integrity matter and for a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to fail to correct this but chose to hide it and refused to refund the Government of Akwa Ibom the said money, amounts to fraud and theft. He colluded with and an accomplice with whosoever in Akwa Ibom State Government that processed and paid him 1.4billion Naira.
As bad as this action was, did Paul Usoro SAN pay tax to the Federal Government after receiving this humongous amount?
Paul Usoro SAN whose election as NBA President is still being challenged, should have done NBA a big favor and stay clear of controversy. With this charge against him, NBA is under heavy moral burden. Can NBA be seen to be fair in issues of calling out corrupt politicians and government officials, when its president is facing criminal charges?
Paul Usoro SAN still presumed innocent, should kindly step aside and face his trial. I learnt that he would be arraigned on 10th of December, 2018 in Lagos.
Members of NBA should not shy away from purifying the NBA and as karma will have it, Paul Usoro SAN campaigned on the slogan of PUrifying the Bar. All we ask, is that the purification, should start with him.
What is playing out, is what some players in NBA foresaw during the campaign and warned against selecting Usoro as NBA President. Today, first time in the history of the Bar, a President of the Bar will be docked.
My dear 739 Lawyers jostling to represent Paul Usoro SAN on the 10th of December, better get the facts of the case correct, weigh their implications on the Bar before you plunge in.
I wish NBA all the best.
Ashimole Felix, Esq

About the Author

Che Oyinatumba
Liberation wordsmith,committed to self emancipation and provocatively lightening the path for others to find their ways to our common goal;an improved humanity.

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