The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee has expelled a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Kunle Kalejaye, from further practising as a lawyer.
The LPDC disbarred Kalejaye after finding him guilty of professional misconduct. A five-man panel of the LPDC, led by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, conducted the investigation.
The LPDC found Kalejaye guilty of misconduct while representing the Peoples Democratic Party and its then candidate, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, at the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, where Oyinlola’s victory in the 2007 poll was being challenged by the then candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.
Kalejaye was said to have engaged in a “confidential, private and confidential telephone conversation” with the Chairman of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Thomas Naron, without the knowledge of the other party.
He allegedly engaged in the unprofessional act between March and June 2008 and the Justice Naron with whom he committed the misconduct had since February 20, 2013 been compulsorily retired by the National Judicial Council.
The Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ekiti Division, Justice Paul Galinje, who read the directive (judgment of the LPDC), held that the prosecution, the Nigerian Bar Association, proved its three count complaints against Kalejaye.
The NBA was represented by Jibrin Okutepa (SAN).
He held that Kalejaiye violated the provisions of sections 1, 15, 30, 31, 34 and 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (2007).
The panel directed the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to delete his name from the roll (list) of legal practitioners in the country.
The committee also directed that its decision should be served on the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Chief Judges of all the states of the federation, the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, the Inspector General of Police and all the states’ Commissioners of Police.
It also directed that the decision be published in the media.
Kalejaiye’s lawyer, Niyi Owolade, a former Attorney General of Osun State, had objected to the LPDC’s decision.
He said his client was about filing his appeal at the Supreme Court.
Under the Legal Practitioners Act, Kalejaiye has up to 28 days to appeal the decision, failing which it will become effective.
Kalejaiye represented the PDP and Oyinlola at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which heard the petition by the ACN and its candidate in the 2007 governorship election, Aregbesola.
The LPDC rejected Kalejaiye’s defence to the effect that his telephone number was cloned.
The committee held that while Kalejaye was able to show, by expert evidence, that spoofing as a general phenomenon was possible, he failed to show that spoofing was possible on the MTN network which owned the lines with which Kalejaiye and Naron communicated.
He was said to have only demonstrated such possibility with Etisalat and Glo networks.
The committee also faulted Kalejaiye’s documentary evidence, mostly newspaper publications (including advertorial sponsored by Kalejaiye), faulting the authenticity of the call log from MTN.
The committee said it would have been more helpful had Kalejaiye applied and got his call log from MTN to prove that the one tendered by the prosecution was not the actual one.