The tussle over legal representation between a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Joe Gadzama and a lawyer, Mr Onyechi Egwuonwu, at the Supreme Court has stalled the hearing of $15b Petro Union Oil And Gas Company Limited case against the Central Bank of Nigeria and others.
Both Chief Gadzama and Egwuonwu are claiming that they were briefed by Petro Union Oil and Gas to represent it in the matter.
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Other respondents in the matter are Union Bank, Minister for Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation.
When the matter came up, there was disagreement between Gadzama and Egwuonwu, over who was briefed by the company to appear in the matter.
While Egwuonwu argued that he brought Gadzama into the matter when the case began at the high court, Gadzama on his part disagreed with the submission.
The case was scheduled for hearing on Monday but could not go on due to the disagreement between the two lawyers.
Onyechi Egwuonwu, Petro Union’s lawyer at the Federal High Court where the $15 billion judgment against CBN and others was given, informed the apex court of his irrevocable power of attorney to represent the company in the matter, explaining that it was he who in fact briefed Gadzama to lead him and other lawyers when the case got to the Court of Appeal.
He informed the court that he has a pending application to disqualify Gadzama from appearing in the case and to disbar him from practising as a legal practitioner due to ‘unprofessional conduct’.
Efforts by the Supreme Court justices and other senior lawyers in court to persuade Egwuonwu and Gadzama to resolve the issue of representation in the matter fell on deaf ears and the court had no option than to adjourn to 22 November 2021 to sort out the issue of legal representation.
Meanwhile, the pending applications of Union Bank in the matter have been scheduled for hearing at the Supreme Court on Monday, 5th July 2021.