SANDRA IWAMBE, Abuja
A Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama, Abuja, yesterday ordered the Peoples Democratic Party, to pay N180 million to Samuel Okutepa ( SAN ), as professional fee.
The cases handled by Okutepa included among others; Terver Kakih Vs PDP and three others, three cases at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.But when the party was not forthcoming on the payment of legal fees, the SAN headed for the court for intervention.
Delivering the judgment in a suit filed by Okutepa against the PDP, Justice Jude Okeke noted that Okutepa was rightly entitled to the money for handling matters involving the party.
He ruled that ,“the defendant is directed to pay the claimant N180 million, being the earned professional fee for defending and prosecuting their cases listed out in the applicant’s statements of claims.’’While also ordering the party to pay N50, 000 to Okutepa for successfully handling the cases, the court averred that it was not right for the PDP not to pay Okutepa, when he diligently handled their briefs.
On the claims by the defendant that they never engaged him and that no legal legal agreement was signed by parties, Justice Okeke said records before him showed that the brief in question was given to the silk by former Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue state and the state Attorney General.
The court further noted that the constitution of PDP recognised a state governor as a high officer who can give instructions on behalf of the party.“The instructions given to the applicant to handle the matter is binding on the PDP. The defendant was aware that the applicant conducted the cases and never questioned the instructions of the governor.
“The defendant kept quiet and benefited from his services, permitted and encouraged him to labour only to claim that a legal contract was not signed. The defendant is not in denial that the applicant did not handle the cases, but they claimed they did not engage him,” he ruled.
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