Sunday, 29 April 2018

Supreme Court Delists Lagos Lawyer Ugwuonye From Legal Practitioners’ Roll

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The Supreme Court has struck out the name of Lagos lawyer, Emeka Ephraim Ugwuonye, also known as due process, from the legal practitioner’s role.

The apex court’s decision to delist the lawyer was conveyed to him in a letter dated 24 April 2018 signed by Mrs Gertrude B Bari-Nyana on behalf of the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court.

The letter with (Ref No. 197/SCN/LIT/100118) was titled: “Re-BB/LPDC/217/16 Nigerian Bar Association V. Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye”.

According to the letter, Ugwuonye’s name was struck off because after he was tried and found guilty of infamous conduct in the course of the performance of your duty as a legal practitioner.
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“This is to notify you of a NOTICE issued by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee to the effect that your name be stuck off the Roll of Legal Practitioners after you were tried and found guilty of infamous confduct in the course of the performance of your duty as a legal practitioner as set out in Count 1,of the complaint, contrary to Rules 23 and 55 of the Rules of professional conduct in the Legal Practition 2007 and punishable under section 12-(1)(a) of Legal Practitioners Act as amended,” the letter read.

“The said notice is dated 22nd day of May 2017, and in the absence of an appeal after a stipulated time within which to appeal has elapsed, the name UGWUONYE EPHRAIM CHUKWUEMEKA is hereby STRUCKOFF the Roll of Legal Practitioners.

“UGWUONYE EPHRAIM CHUKWUEMEKA is not entitled to practice as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“Any letter issued to you before now with regards to your enrollment status is null and void with immediate effect.”

Mr. Ugwuonye's career as a lawyer has been pock-marked by scandals. In 2013, the US District Court in Washington DC issued a default judgment against the lawyer in a case about conversion to personal use of $1.55milllion tax refunds in a property transaction he executed on behalf of the Nigerian High Commission in Washington DC. The lawyer was found liable on all claims filed against him and the court awarded $2million damages against him, while also ordering him to pay, with interest, the money he took inappropriately.                       

In 2010, he was disbarred by the Attorney Grievance Commission in Maryland and subsequently in New York after being found to have duped his clients. Unable to practice in the US, Mr. Ugwuonye returned to Nigeria and continued with a variety of dodgy schemes, including using a Facebook page to defraud people.

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