INVESTIGATION: Lawyer indicted for fraud in the UK nominated as judge of Nigeria’s Court of Appeal – premiumtimesng.com
On February 22, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, published the names of 12 lawyers it said had been shortlisted for appointment as Court of Appeal judges after an intensive two-day screening exercise that involved 187 lawyers.
In a statement announcing the shortlist, the NBA explained that the exercise was in response to the call by the President of the Court of Appeal for it to nominate “suitably qualified candidates” to be considered for appointment as judges into the second highest court in the country.
A PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed that one of the finalists, Rita Chris-Garuba, formerly Rita Kuku, in 2000, was indicted for a series of professional misconduct, including putting clients’ funds to her own use, and a £250,000.00 mortgage fraud in the United Kingdom where she worked as a solicitor.
After an indictment, the Law Society of England and Wales described Mrs. Chris-Garuba as lacking the “integrity”, probity and trustworthiness” expected of a legal practitioner, and subsequently struck her name off the Roll of Solicitors.
The Law Society is the professional body of solicitors in England and Wales. It regulates conducts of solicitors as well as protects the public from dishonest practitioners.
The investigation into the accounts of her law firm, Temple Chambers, by the Law Society’s Monitoring and Investigative Unit began in July 1997, at the time when Mrs. Chris-Garuba was a registered foreign lawyer in the UK handling investment matters.
The tribunal was told that Mrs. Chris-Garuba obtained a mortgage by deception.
In March 1996, she purchased a property at luxury High View Gardens, Cyprus with the help of a £150,000.00 mortgage obtained from Preferred Mortgages using her full name at the time, Rita Ifeyinwa Kuku.
However, she fell short of her mortgage repayment and accumulated arrears.
Not wanting to lose the property due to accumulated arrears, she arranged for the sale of the property to herself, using her maiden name, Chukwuma, with a mortgage advance from another company, Abbey National Building Society.
However, the date of birth she used when applying for the first mortgage with her married name was different from the one she used when applying with her maiden name.
When applying for the new mortgage, she used an identity card that identified her as a marketing consultant instead of a lawyer. She also used different addresses in the applications.
MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017. 6:00 p.m. [GMT]