April 14, 2024

“I am Not A Thief, Not A Crook – NBA President, Maikyau Pleads!

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By Reporter

President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN, is presently struggling to wade-off accusations of nepotism, and fraud that has been leveled against him by some NBA members.

Amongst other offences, Maikyau is facing an alleged IT contract fraud in the association and the recruitment of his nephew, Solomon Magaji, to ‘assist’ in managing the IT infrastructure of the body.

The embattled president is reported to have owned up when he told the National Executive Committee (NEC) members at a meeting held prior to the commencement of the recently concluded 2023 NBA Annual General Conference in Abuja National Stadium, that, the IT consultant – Adams Myshelia Makarios, that was hired by his predecessor, Olumide Akpata, was found to be overbilling the association, and defrauding it and would sometimes down its server during payment of legal practitioners’ fees.

This, according to Maikyau, cost the NBA so much. He said this led him to engaged an IT consultancy firm owned by Solomon Magaji, his nephew, to solve the problem.

He pleaded with the NBA NEC to debunk the fraud and nepotism claims against him, adding that he was financially blessed and would not steal from the association.

The NBA President recalled instances that he funded some programmes of the association with his personal resources.

Despirate to exonorate himself from the corruption charges that has been leveled against him, Maikyau asked the NEC to audit the association’s IT infrastructure to ascertain the fact of the corruption allegations.

“He has (his nephew) been my IT consultant for over 30 years in my own office.

“I am not a thief. I am not a crook. You should know that,” Maikyau maintained.

Barrister Caroline Ladidi Anze-Bishop, the national treasurer of the Association, joined the list of Maikyau’s accusers when she confronted the chairman on live telecast during the NBA Annual General Conference recently, in Abuja. She accused the troubled lawyer of circumventing her office and executing financial decisions for the association without her approval.

Anze-Bishop told the bewildered audience, including the President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu that had declined to present the financial reports because she was “unaware of the true financial position of the association”.

According to the national auditor, memos were not routed through her office but through the office of the secretary, with the president’s approval.

“It will be incongruous of me to stand here and tell you that this is the financial position. It may be, but I do not know because I wasn’t involved, I wasn’t informed.

“It wasn’t put together by me and I will not disrespect you by standing here to give you unknown figures because I do not know the true financial position of this association,” the national treasurer said.

Also during the AGM, the 2nd Vice President Chukwuemeka Clement in his report to AGM, accused the NBA President of making his office redundant and inactive by assigning his traditional roles to Personal Assistants appointed by the himself. He asked the AGM to rescue him from the oppressive hands of the President.

The NBA 3rd Vice President, Barrister Mandy Asagba in her report accused the NBA President of refusing to enable her office and taking alone, decisions which the whole executive is required to take collectively by law.

She told the AGM that the AGC and the AGM was planned, organised and executed by Maikyau alone without the input of other Executive Committee Members. She also prayed the AGM to rescue her from the President.

Some lawyers have submitted that, due to the refusal of the national auditor, Anze-Bishop to present the association’s audited report, the AGM is inconclusive, as the financial status of the Association must be revealed, discussed and approved by the AGM which has the overriding power of the Association.

The embattled NBA President, in his response to these accusations of abuse of office, according to reports, has not denied the accusations, but has presented a justification for his actions.

According to him, the officers are fighting him because he refused to approve their request for money. Yet another source also alleged that “…the NBA President made a shocking revelation of how he received N50 million gift in cash on behalf of the Association and gave N40 million to the General Secretary to deposit for the Association after deducting N10 million which he incurred within that time.”

The sources added that, “this response by the president logically confirms the accusations of the National Officers that he runs the Association alone and without their input.”

He queried that, “how can the NBA President receive 50 million Naira cash without the Knowledge of other National Officers?

“Is receiving 50 million Naira cash not against Money Laundering laws? Is there no established financial process within the NBA of receiving and disbursing money?

“Is there no procurement process within the NBA? What is the role of the NBA Treasurer?

“So many questions will agitate the mind of an unbiased spectator following the NBA President’s response.” The sources asked.

The corruption allegation facing the leadership of the NBA is capable of eroding the honour and piousness of the association. The worrisome situation confronting the body has furthered the doubtful integrity of Nigeria’s judiciary.

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