From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
A Port Harcourt-based legal practitioner, Prince Gbogboade Akitoye, has accused his client, Chief Gaskin Sobrasuaipiri, of blackmail and making a malicious publication against him.
Sobrasuaipiri had dragged his counsel to Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, claiming the sum of N100 million for being “general damages for the defender’s (Akitoye) negligence and trauma/pain the claimant (Sobrasuaipiri) has suffered as a result of the unprofessional handling of the claimant’s Will by the defendant”.
The claimant, in his Statement of Claim, had asked for an order of the court directing the defendant to return the file copy of the Will in his (defendant) possession because the Will has been revoked.
But, briefing journalists yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Akitoye, in his Statement of Defence, denied his client’s allegations as contained in his (Sobrasuaipiri) Statement of Claim.
The defendant stated that the claimant, in 2019, engaged him to prepare his last Will and agreed to pay the sum of N3.5 million for the service.
According to Akitoye, his client deposited the sum of N200,000.00, with a promise to bring the balance of N3.3 million at a later date.
He said: “Being a friend, I received the money, prepared the Will, trusting that he would honour his obligation to bring the balance as promised.
“At the next visit, Chief Gaskin Egede Sobrasuaipiri pretended that he was with the cheque of N3.3 million, which he intended to give me.
“He requested for the Will and I mandated his two witnesses to sign their columns along with him as the testator. He did not return the Will to me as he said he was proceeding to the probate to deposit same.
“I requested for the cheque which he earlier on promised to give me. At that stage, he (claimant) stormed out of my office without handing over the cheque. I, then, realised that he has defraud me after obtaining my services.
“In order to intimidate me out of paying my legal fee of N3.3 million, he went out to file a trump up case against me in the High Court of Rivers State, claiming the sum of N100 million and circulate his illicit claim through the local media in Port Harcourt.
“He later approached me to pay him the sum of N3.3 million, which was my claim against him to enable him stop his defamatory actions against me. I refused to yield to his dirty request, insisting that he should pay me my outstanding legal fees of N3.3 million”.
Meanwhile, the case is before Justice Okogbulem Gbasam, and the matter was adjourned till February 10, 2021.