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Drama in court as lawyer, client quarrel over dud cheque

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A mild drama unfolded at the Surulere
Magistrate’s court, Lagos, after a woman
alleged to have presented a dud cheque to her
lawyer as payment for his legal services,
attempted to out smart him. The client, a staff of the Power Holding
Company of Nigeria, PHCN, one Mrs Nnenna
Christiana Olusile, appeared in court with a new
lawyer, prompting the Magistrate, Mrs R.B
Lawal, to as why. Unknown to her, her previous
lawyer, Charles Alonge was also in court. The relationship between Olusile and her
lawyer, as gathered, went sour following the
former’s alleged refusal to pay him for his legal
services on the case of stealing and obtaining
items worth N300,000.

Christiana in exchange of words with her
former client Olushile, a resident of 16, Michael Akinwunmi
Street Alakuko, in the outskirts of Lagos, was
alleged to have specialized in hypnotizing sales
girls and carting away goods in the shops. But nemesis caught up with her in August
2012, when she reportedly went to a boutique
located at Akerele area in Surulere Lagos,
where she met a 20-year-old sale’s girl and
allegedly made away with goods worth
N300,000 without paying a dime. It was also alleged that as soon as she left, the
sales girl realised that she had been duped and
immediately contacted her boss. Policemen from Bode Thomas Station, Surulere
that were contacted launched a manhunt for
Olushile before she was arrested in February
this year. The Investigating Police Officer who hinted
that the arrest did not come easy, said “ the
only thing the girl told us was that she did not
suspect any foul play, from the way the woman
carried herself and her familiarity with the
environment. She said the woman even called her husband
on phone and the assurance he gave her made
her release the items.The phone number she
left, coupled with the information that she is a
PHCN employee were the only enabling lead to
trace and arrest her. “When we arrested her, she denied ever
engaging in any criminal act and at a point, we
were afraid whether we had arrested the wrong
person. But the Divisional Police Officer
ordered two of our female colleagues to take
her inside to establish whether she had tattoos on her body as the sales girl earlier disclosed.
That was when she owned up that she was the
right person but said that the goods she
bought were worth N70,000 as against the
N300,000 the girl claimed” Drama in court
Following threats of possible dismissal initiated
through a query by her office, after report of
her arrest was published in the dailies, she
reportedly sought the services of Alonge, the
lawyer who was said to have answered the query, thereby averting the perceived dismissal
threat. The case, as gathered, was charged to
court where Alonge stood as counsel to the
accused and her husband. However, when the Magistrate observed the
change of counsel after Olushile’s case was
mentioned, she could not hide her displeasure
and insisted that the former lawyer, Alonge, be
paid his fees before the new lawyer would be
allowed to appear before her. “You can not properly appear yet because he
(Alonge) said they are owing him, I don’t like
clients to owe lawyers because that is their
office and I also don’t like clients jumping from
one lawyer to another. I am aware that this
matter was published and I tried my best to grant the accused bail in a very liberal term. I
hope she is aware that there is a criminal
charge against her,” she said. On his part, Mr Alonge, explained that, “I called
the counsel this morning and told him in her
presence that she called me a rogue and all
sorts of names which made me to formerly
withdraw the matter. I want it to be on record
that they are still owing me and I inisist that my fee be paid before any other lawyer can
continue with the case. It all started when she
presented a dud cheque to me and I reported
to the police prior to today’s hearing.” The court, therefore, advised the lawyer to
take the case to the Special Fraud Unit, SFU,
Ikoyi.

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