A serving judge in the Lagos State Judiciary, Justice Ibironke Harrison, is expected to appear today before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee over allegation of N117.5 million property fraud brought against her before the committee.
One Solomon Onwukwe had in 2008 petitioned the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) complaining of an alleged fraud by Harrison over the sale of his property.
According to the petition, Harrison allegedly sold a property located at 24 Ilasan Awe Road, Ikate, Ilasan, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State without authorisation from him.
The judge was alleged to have failed to remit the whole amount of the said transaction to the petitioner even after an agreement was reached between the two parties.
The judge was alleged to have issue a cheque to the petitioner but the cheque was later returned unpaid.
The NBA took up the matter and brought it before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee with Mr. Jubril Okutepa (SAN) acting as its counsel.
When the judge was invited before the committee to defend herself, she raised an objection saying that the committee lacked jurisdiction to handle the matter by virtue of her position as a judge of a High Court in Lagos.
Harrison stated further that only the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) could handle any allegation of misconduct against judicial officers.
However, the committee ruled that Harrison must appear before it to defend herself.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Joseph Daudu, speaking on the matter, stated that Harrison’s objection was baseless because the alleged offence was committed in 2008 when the judge was still a lawyer.
“The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee Act is empowered to try any reported acts of misconduct by legal practitioners.
“(Therefore) the objection is over-ruled and the judge is expected to file her defence on the allegation,” Daudu said.
He thereafter adjourned the case to 6th and 7th March (today and tomorrow) for continuation during which the judge is expected to file her defence.