Nnamdi Kanu’s Lawyer Banned from Legal Practice in Nigeria

Nnamdi Kanu's Lawyer Banned from Legal Practice in Nigeria
Emeka Ephraim Ugwuonye, a former United States-based Nigerian
lawyer, who was disbarred in New York and Maryland for professional
misconduct, was yesterday also disbarred in Nigeria, to which he had
relocated, for the same offense.
 
Nigeria’s Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) of the
Body of Benchers, which punishes misconduct among lawyers, ordered the
Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to strike out Mr.
Ugwuonye’s name.  The order followed a case in which he was accused of
having failed to disclose his personal interest in a property he was
briefed to obtain letters of Administration for, which involved a widow.
Details of the Direction of LPDC will be released in due course.
 Mr.  J.S. Okutepa (SAN) who is the Chief Prosecutor of the Nigeria Bar
Association (NBA) at the LPDC found Ugwuonye liable for fraud.
 
Mr. Ugwuonye relocated to Nigeria after a story of fraud broken by
SaharaReporters led to a series of court cases in the United States that
nailed Ugwuonye in US courts.  
 
In 2013, the United States District Court in Washington DC, issued a
default judgment against Mr. Ugwuonye in a case extensively reported by
SaharaReporters in which he diverted into his personal pockets tax
refunds of $1.55 million in a real estate transaction in Washington DC
he undertook for the Embassy of Nigeria.
 
Found liable on all the claims made by the Embassy, the court
awarded monetary damages of over $2m against Mr. Ugwuonye, ordering him
not only to return the money he had stolen but also to pay interest on
it.
In November 2012 in Washington DC, the United States District Judge
dismissed a defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit, filed in 2009
by Mr. Ugwuonye against SaharaReporters, for lack of merit.  It was one
of the several cases he filed, and lost, as he gambled on using the
courts in the United States to thwart reporting of his illegal
activities.  
 
About seven years ago, he was disbarred by the Attorney Grievance
Commission in Maryland for duping clients, and subsequently in New York
and Washington DC and New York. 
 
SaharaReporters had reported in October 2016 that Mr. Ugwuonye was
facing disciplinary action before the LPDC, his name having been on a
list published as an advertorial signed by LDPC Secretary H.A. Turaki,
and published in The Punch.
Unable to continue his fraudulent lifestyle in the United States,
Mr. Ugwuonye attempted similar schemes in Nigeria, including opening a
phony Facebook page where he made members donate funds to his law firm’s
account. 
 
He has 28 days to appeal the ruling of the LPDC.
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