N40m Theft: NBA Banishes Nsima Ekere’s Legal Aide
…Joins League of Criminally Indicted Aides of NDDC Boss
The Legal Practitioner’s Disciplinary Committee of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has fired Barr. Imo Effiong Akpan, a personal aide on legal matters to the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commissioner (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, placing a lifetime ban on him from practicing law in the country.
Imo Akpan, the current National Secretary of the APC Youth Congress and member of the APC Caucus in Akwa Ibom State, was outrightly banished as a legal practitioner for fraud and theft of over N40 million.
The disciplinary committee, in exercise of its functions, on the 4th and 5th of July 2018, wielded the big stick against Imo Akpan and merely suspended others who were found liable of infamous conducts in accordance with the provisions of Order 11 Rule 1(c) of the Legal Practitioners Act as amended.
Akpan is not the first aide of Mr Ekere who would be robed into criminal issues in Akwa Ibom. It could be recalled that other aides of the NDDC boss, Uyo Nathaniel and Prof. Chris Ekong had been nabbed by the police in Uyo over kidnap related issues, where the duo had to be incarcerated and charge for involvement in the kidnap of an expatriate working in Stemco, and engineering firm that was constructing some roads in Ikot Ekpene.
Subsequently, Prof. Ekong who was the Dean of the College of Commissioners under the Government of Chief Godswill Akpabio in 2008, was fired as Commissioner for Economic Development, while Mr Nathaniel Uyo had his license to manage the popular ‘Ndito Edidia Nso’ park in Ikot Ekpene, revoked.
According to reports, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Wednesday May 1, 2016 arraigned Imo Efiong Akpan before Justice Ifiok Ukana of the State High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on a 2- count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining money by false pretense to the tune of Forty Million Naira.
The petitioner alleged that the suspect, Barrister Akpan sold a filing station (Tripple Tower Petroleum Resources) to him for Twenty million Naira, which he paid in two installments. He further stated that after several months, he found out that the owner of the property whom the suspect claimed to be his uncle was not aware of the sale and that documents presented by the suspect were forged.
Count one reads,” that you Imo Efiong Akpan sometime in May 2012, at Uyo within the Uyo Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, obtained the total sum of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) from Kufre Nelson by falsely representing yourself to him as an agent of Tripple Tower Petroleum Resources for the sale of its Filling Station Located at Idu Uruan Road, Uyo, which representation you knew to be false thereby committed an offence of obtaining money by false pretense contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006”.
Count two read, “that you Imo Efiong Akpan sometimes in May 2012, at Uyo within the Uyo Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, fraudulently converted to your own use the sum of N20, 000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira), property of Mr. Kufre Nelson thereby committed an offence Stealing contrary to Section 405 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol.2, Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, 2000”.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was first read to him.
In view of his plea, counsel to EFCC, Usman Shehu, urged the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial and to remand the accused person in prison custody.
However, Justice Ukana adjourned the matter to 6 June, 2016 for hearing of the bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody.
Regardless, investigations revealed that with Akpan expulsion from the NBA, the umbrella body of all practicing lawyers in Nigeria, his law degree certificate is as worthless as a tissue paper.
Others who were suspended include: (1) ADETUNJI OLADELE ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 36months.(2) CHIEF CHUKWUNYERE NWABUKO ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 12 months.(3) KEN OBI ESQ & OKECHUKWU NWEZE ESQ– suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 12 months.(4) AUSTIN OKWECHIME ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 24 months.
Also suspended are; (5) ABRAHAM UHUNMWANGHO ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 36months (6) OBONG IME J. BASSEY ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 24 months. (7) IMO EFFIONG AKPAN ESQ – Struck off the Roll of lawyers. (8) JUDE AKOSA ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 24 months. (9) ADEMOLA BALOGUN OYEWO ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 24 months. (10) JIDE OLAWEPO ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 24 months. (11)AKINWUNMI AJIBOLA ESQ – suspended from practicing as a lawyer for 36 months.