The Principal Partner of Femi Kehinde and Co, Honourable Femi Kehinde, has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to restrain the Oyo State Government, Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) and three others from making any payment as it relates to professional or consultancy fee in respect to foreign loan recovery.
Kehinde had sued Ned Nwoko’s law firm, the Oyo State Government, Incorporated Trustees of Nigerian Governor’s Forum, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and five others over the refusal of the law firm to pay 40 per cent of the sum of N1 billion paid to it by the Oyo State Government, through the Incorporated Trustees of Nigerian Governor’s Forum.
The Plaintiff, having heard of plans by the Federal Government to pay consultancy fee in respect of the foreign loan recovery to the fourth Respondent in the matter (Linas International Limited), approached the court with a motion on notice seeking an interlocutory injunction to halt the payment pending the hearing and determination of the main suit.
A lawyer in the law firm of Bola Aidi and Co, Fashina Oyindamola, averred in a further affidavit that the Plaintiff wrote to the Accountant General of the Federation, the CBN and the Ministry of Finance to halt the planned payment of the Consultancy Fee in view of the substantive suit pending in the Court.
According to the Affidavit, the plaintiff will lose the opportunity to benefit from the judgment if it turns out in his favour, if the money is paid to the Fourth Defendant.
“It will be in the interest of Justice to restrain the fifth to tenth defendants as it relates to professional or consultancy fee in respect of foreign loan recovery, being the subject matter of the suit before the court.
“That the justice of this matter to all parties is for the court to order the payment of the said sum of $68 million to the account of this court pending the determination of the substantive suit,” Oyindamola stated in the affidavit.
She told the court that the application will not be prejudicial to the interest of the Defendants if granted, adding also that it will be in the interest of justice to grant the application.
Kehinde had in a writ of summons numbered- FHC/ABJ/CS/212/20, filed through his counsel Bola Aidi prayed the court to order Ned Nwoko Solicitors to pay him, “the sum of N400 million,” being 40 per cent of the N1billion (first tranche) paid to the first Defendant (Ned Nwoko) solicitors as legal fee for services rendered by same as it relates to Oyo State Government for the recovery of foreign debts.
The plaintiff also prayed the court, for an order compelling the first Defendant, which is a registered law firm with the Law Society of England to pay him 20 million which is 40 per cent of the consent judgment as well as another £159,098 incurred as expenses procuring an arbitration in a London court.
He also wanted the court to order the fifth to tenth Defendant to pay him 40 percent of all the subsequent tranches of the professional fees due to the first to fourth defendants on the Oyo State foreign debt recovery or deduction from the local governments in Oyo State and for the Court to order the Defendant to pay him N20 million for prosecuting this suit.
The plaintiff said in a statement of claim that the first defendant engaged his services in 2007 to handle all issues pertaining to Oyo State Foreign debt and that the condition of his engagement as agent to the first defendant was dependent on the first Defendant being appointed as solicitors to the Oyo State Government to recover its foreign debts within four weeks.
He averred that the conditions as contained in a retainership letter as a local attorney on March 24, 2007, include collation of all information and documentation of the various loans and agreement s since 1982, provision of support needed by Ned Nwoko Solicitors, including litigation in any Nigerian court in any matter arising from proposed contract with Oyo State among others.
“The retainership agreement state clearly that the plaintiff with be entitled to 40 per cent of whatever received from m the Oyo State Government and that remains the Understanding parties.”
He said Oyo State government refused to comply with the terms of agreement and did not pay Ned Nwoko Solicitors, a situation he said made the first defendant to give the plaintiff the go ahead to commence arbitration proceedings in London against Oyo State Government.
The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, had adjourned till November 26 to hear the preliminary objections of the Defendants.