By Dipo Awojobi – The former Solicitor -General of Lagos State, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN) has denied the allegation making the rounds that he defrauded the law firm of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) of $10m.
Reacting to some newspaper publications, which indicated that he was been investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC over the matter, Pedro said the allegation was untrue and a calculated attempt to tarnish his reputation.
“I wish to state with emphasis that I did not and could not have defrauded Chief Afe Babalola, SAN or his law firm of $10m professional fees or any amount. The allegation is not only false, it is malicious having regards to the facts on ground.
“I wish to state that his petition to the ICPC which I have responded to, was as a result of his misunderstanding of my role in the settlement of the Supreme Court judgment in favour of his client (the Gbadamosi Eletu family) in suit number SC/ 146/05,” he said.
Explaining his role in the matter, Pedro said: “ for the record, I was the Solicitor- General of Lagos State when I chaired the settlement meetings of representatives of government ( from Lands Bureau, Surveyor General office, Land Registry, Ministry of Physical Planning and Ministry of Justice), the judgment creditors( Eletu family) and Solicitors and 3rd parties who have fully or partly developed the judgment land with government ‘s approval and consent to their title. They include NICON, UAC, PDC, Beach Resort Nig. Ltd., Lekki Silver Touch Nig. Ltd etc.
“At the end of the several meetings held in the conference room of the Ministry of Justice, I was able to persuade the Eletu family to agree to accept alternative parcel of land in replacement of the 216.7 hectares of land at Osapa awarded to them in judgment.
“This is in forbearance of execution of the said judgment by Eletu family against the 3rd parties /occupiers of land to avoid breach of peace, destruction of properties and injuries to persons which may occur in the event of execution as evidence by the initial Attempt at execution and which made government to intervene in the matter.
“Even though the non-execution of the judgment delayed the immediate payment of Chief Afe Babalola’s fee by his clients, I acted in the best interest of the people in arriving at a resolution of the matter between the real parties concerned. I did not abuse my official office at any time or in the settlement of the said judgment or any case that arose from it. I also deny hijacking any brief for any law firm or as alleged.”
Pedro maintained that the scam allegation is a plot to tarnish his reputation.