City worker sues investment firm over ALLEGATIONS of sexual harassment.

A city worker is suing her former employers for sexual harassment, alleging her boss repeatedly invited her back to his hotel room after a boozy office party.
Executive director Frederic Michel-Verdier, 50, is said to have leered at Nathalie Abildgaard, 27: ‘If I was 20 years younger, I would have been all over you’, the Sunday Times reported.
Later that night he suggested she should go to his hotel room ‘so we could have fun’, before sending her messages including one with his room number and a smiling emoji.
Michel-Verdier, who is married, has been disciplined by his employers for ‘miuse of alcohol’ over the incident. He denies the allegations.
He later sent texts including one with his hotel room number and a smiley face.
The pair from Australian fund managers IFM were at an office party in Madrid.
Michel-Verdier denies the allegations but has been reprimanded by the firm.
Nathalie Abildgaard, 27, is asking her former employer for a slice of the bonus she would have earned in full had she stayed at the firm longer. She claims her boss sexually harassed her at a work party.
The alleged exchanges took place in a Madrid nightclub in March last year, where the pair and their team from IFM Investors, an Australian fund management firm with an office in Gresham Street, London, were celebrating closing a deal.
The paper reported that in a witness statement, Amelia McArdle, IFM’s global head of people and culture, said Mr Michel-Verdier ‘stated that he was stunned’ when told about the allegations.
‘He said he had no recollection of having sent messages, or the content of those messages,’ McArdle said in the document.
‘He explained that there had been a lot of drinking over the course of the evening … and stated that while he may have made some bad jokes, he did not intend any wrongdoing.’
IFM said it had investigated the claims after Ms Abildgaard left the company in April of last year, and concluded that while Michel-Verdier sending his room number breached its code of conduct, the firm ‘felt we could not reasonably conclude that there had also been verbal unwanted and physical advances.’
The message, and another incident, earned Michel-Verdier a reprimand for ‘misuse of alcohol’. He had his bonus cut and has even been banned from drinking at company events for 12 months.
When Abildgaard left IFM she asked the company to pay her a pro rata percentage of her bonus, for the proportion of the year she had worked. she claimed she had intended to leave the company later in the year having received her bonus in full.
But IFM rejected her request on the grounds that the incident was not ‘of such a nature that it in effect forced Nathalie to resign’.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Ms Abildgaard declined to comment on the specific allegations against Michel-Verdier but said the process of taking legal action had been both ‘very isolating and incredibly stressful’.
She added: ‘Apart from the money, it’s also incredibly time-consuming and it wears on you,’ she said.
Ms Abildgaard is suing both her former boss and her former employers – IFM Investors, an Australian fund management firm with an office in Gresham Street, London.
Later today, she will launch a charity to help employees who have suffered workplace discrimination.
Legal Aid for Business Diversity, which has the backing of the Labour MP Jess Phillips, is intended to help ‘level the playing field’ for individuals taking on their employer, providing them with financial support.
She said the charity was not saying everyone should sue their employer, but that ‘if you want to do it, it shouldn’t be the money that prevents you.’
Abildgaard called her legal battle a ‘David and Goliath fight’, on which she has already spent £50,000, and accused IFM’s lawyers of trying to ‘drown’ her ‘in litigation’.

IFM Investors, which manages about £52bn in assets, told the paper: ‘IFM Investors takes allegations of workplace misconduct extremely seriously … We will move swiftly to address any identified shortcomings in the culture in our workplace.’
Source: Daily Mail.

Assault, Intimidation and Desecration of the Judiciary Must STOP-NBA President

Nigerians have witnessed again the targeted assault of the judiciary by agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria (“FGN”) epitomized by today’s media trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honorable Mr. Justice Walter S N Onnoghen, GCON (“CJN”). According to media reports which have now been validated by the Statement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (“CCT”) that was released today an application was “filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau to the CCT Chairman yesterday for the trial to commence against the Chief Justice of Nigeria on six count charges” and that the CCT “will commence the trial on Monday, 14th January 2019”. The Nigerian Bar Association unequivocally condemns this assault, intimidation and desecration of the Judiciary by FGN agencies and demands that it be stopped immediately.2. In Nganjiwa v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2017) LPELR-43391(CA), the Court of Appeal made it very clear that any misconduct attached to the office and functions of a judicial officer must first be reported to and handled by the National Judicial Council (“NJC”) pursuant to the provisions of our laws. Only after the NJC has pronounced against such judicial officer can the prosecuting agencies of the Federal Government proceed against him. As the Court pointed out, these requirements of the law are anchored on the overriding principles of separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary and the legislature and on the need to preserve, promote and protect the independence of the judiciary. Our respective liberties and the rule of law are best protected and preserved if the judiciary remains independent and shielded from intimidation and assault by the other arms of the government.3. In Nganjiwa v FRN (supra), the Court of Appeal made reference to Rule 3 of the Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of February 2016 (“Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers”)and held that the said Rule 3 “makes provision in relation to fidelity to the Constitution and the Law”. The provisions in regard to assets declaration as they apply to all public officers including the CJN are contained in both the Constitution and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act 1991, the enabling law that establishes both the Code of Conduct Bureau (“CCB”) and the CCT. The fidelity which judicial officers therefore owe “to the Constitution and the Law” pursuant to Rule 3 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers encompasses compliance with the provisions relating to assets declarations as contained in the the Constitution and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. Any infraction in that regard by a judicial officer, as the Court of Appeal rightly held, constitutes a misconduct by the judicial officer and becomes the subject matter for discipline by the NJC as a condition precedent to any possible prosecution of the judicial officer by any of the FGN’s prosecuting agencies.4. Why has FGN decided to embark on this anomalous course of charging the CJN before the CCT without first presenting whatever facts it purportedly has against His Lordship to the NJC for its deliberation and determination? The Petition that triggered the CCB action was on its face received by the Bureau on 09 January 2019 and the Charge was promptly drafted and is dated the following day, 10 January 2019 – giving the CCB a record 24 hours for completion of its investigation and the drafting of the said Charge and ancillary processes! If one contemplates the fact that the CCT arraignment is scheduled to take place on 14 January 2019, we have in total a record number of 3 (three) working days between the receipt and processing of the petition, investigation, preparation of Charge and ancillary processes and the arraignment! Such unprecedented speed and efficiency in Nigeria’s criminal justice administration! It is clear, given the rush with which this matter was conducted by the CCB, that the NJC was not privy to it and did not conduct its mandatorily required disciplinary processes prior to the filing of the Charge before the CCT.5. We still wonder why the FGN choose to deviate from the laid down and explicit provisions of the law as expounded in Nganjiwa v FRN (supra). Could it be that it was misadvised? Or is this a naked show of power and force by agencies of the FGN? And why embark on the media trial of the CJN? This, unfortunately, is a predilection of the FGN’s prosecuting agencies with the possible exception of the Federal Ministry of Justice. As the NBA pointed out in its International Anti-Corruption Day Statement that was issued on 09 December 2018 “media trial of persons charged with corrupt practices . . . amount to corruption itself. Indeed, those orchestrated media trials degrade and corrupt the justice administration system quite apart from the incalculable (but obviously intended) damage that it does to persons who may ultimately be discharged and acquitted. In point of fact, it is corrupt practice to use as license or hide under the cover of the fight against corruption to recklessly destroy the names, characters and reputations of persons who have not been found guilty of corrupt practices by competent courts and who may ultimately be pronounced innocent of such charges.” These media trials must, alongside the on-going desecration and assault of the judiciary, cease forthwith.5. There are two final issues that we must touch upon in this Statement, albeit, briefly. First, could it possibly be a coincidence that the current assault on the judiciary is taking place only weeks to the 2019 National Election? Apart from the conduct itself being wrongful and deplorable, its timing is condemnable. FGN will find it difficult to convince any reasonable person that its assault against the CJN and by extension the judiciary is not aimed at emasculating that arm of the government and intimidating our Judges ahead of the 2019 National Elections. In our afore-referenced International Anti-Corruption Day Statement, the NBA had deplored “conducts that qualify as . . . political non-accountability, absence of transparency and impunity in public service.” The FGN’s conduct in this instance qualifies, amongst others, as “impunity in public service”.6. As a final point, it is also difficult for a disinterested observer not to see a pattern of consistent assault by agencies of the FGN on the heads of the two independent arms of government, to wit, the legislature and the judiciary, starting with the prosecution of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, before the CCT and now, the ill-fated prosecution of the CJN before the same CCT. The impression must not be created that the agencies of the Executive arm of the FGN are interested in destabilizing and laying prostrate the other arms of the Government and in the process eliminating and destroying any and all voices of dissent and checks and balances. That is not desirable for the democracy that we strive to build neither is it good for the image of the Government. We urge restraint on the part of Government and demand that the CCB follow due process in proceeding against the CJN by complying with Nganjiwa’s Judgment (supra) and other similar judicial precedents. This continuing attack on the justice sector must cease forthwith. FGN and its agencies must desist from debasing the rule of law.Paul Usoro, SANPresident

Continue reading Assault, Intimidation and Desecration of the Judiciary Must STOP-NBA President

BAR BRIEFS WITH HABEEB: MUSINGS ON PRACTICING FEE

BY AKOREDE HABEEB LAWAL


One point of agreement amongst members of the Nigerian Bar Association is the need to pay the annual practicing fee. It is an agreement rooted in a long practice and which door of choice has been closed by the relevant provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act and the Rules of Professional Conduct which mandate the payment of practicing fee. Laws close doors, but often leave some windows open to allow some air of changes and dynamism which often lead to disagreement and disputes. The constant resolution of these disputes is one reason responsible for the development of the law.

Continue reading BAR BRIEFS WITH HABEEB: MUSINGS ON PRACTICING FEE

Details of the petition brought against the CJN

PETITION ON SUSPECTED FINANCIAL CRIMES AND BREACHES OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT BUREAU REQUIREMENTS AGAINST HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE W. S. NKANU ONNOGHEN, GCON, THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA

We write to bring to your attention serious concerns bothering on flagrant violations of the law and the Constitution of Nigeria by the Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Continue reading Details of the petition brought against the CJN

Just in- See the details of Statement made by CJN over CCB charge

PREMIUM TIMES has obtained details of a statement given by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, to the Code of Conduct Bureau which is accusing him of false asset declaration.
In one note seen by this newspaper, Mr Onnoghen said he “forgot to update his asset declaration, after the expiration of his 2005 declaration”.
Mr Onnoghen also explained that he believed that the form SCN 000015 filed in December 2016 after he emerged acting CJN would cover for the period after his confirmation as CJN.
The case against Mr Onnoghen came after a group, the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, sent a petition against him alleging wrongdoing in his asset declaration.
The group said the CJN, Nigeria’s most senior judicial officer, maintained illegal accounts containing foreign currencies and did not declare them.
The group’s head, Denis Aghanya, is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress and a former publicity secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change.
The group said, its petition was brought “bearing in mind the imminence of the 2019 elections and the overwhelming role of the judiciary both before and after the election.”
A statement by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Saturday, said Mr Onnoghen would be arraigned for alleged false asset charge on Monday — seven days after the petition was brought.
Some lawyers have alleged the trial is politically motivated.
Mr Onnoghen wrote as follows:
“My asset declaration form numbers SCN 00014 and SCN 00005 were declared on the same day, 14/12/2016 because I forgot to make a declaration of my assets after the expiration of my 2005 declaration in 2009. Following my appointment as acting CJN in November, 2016, the need to declare my assets anew made me to realize the mistake.
“I then did the declaration to cover the period in default. I did not include my standard charted bank account in SCN 000014 because I believed they were not opened.
“I did not make a fresh declaration of asset after my substantive appointment as CJN because I was under the impression that my SCN 000015 was to cover that period of four years which includes my term as CJN,” Mr Onnoghen said in his statement dated January 11.
Mr Onnoghen was first appointed acting CJN on November 10, 2017 following the retirement of the former CJN, Mahmoud Mohammed.
His appointment as acting CJN came amidst criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to forward his name to the Senate for confirmation as the most senior judge.
On February 8, 2017 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo returned Mr Onnoghen’s name for confirmation to the Senate on March 1.
Mr Onnoghen was subsequently sworn in to office as Nigeria’s 17th CJN on March 8, 2017.
Sourced from Premium Times.

FG to arraign CJN before CCT for corruption charges…

The Federal Government is set to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen on charges of non-declaration before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on Monday.
CCT headquarters in Abuja on Saturday confirmed the development in a statement signed by its Head, Press & Public Relations, Mr. Ibraheem Al-Hassan.
According to Al-Hassan, the three-man panel of the tribunal led by Danladi Umar, fixed Monday for the arraignment of Nigeria’s number one judge, following an application by the Code of Conduct Bureau for leave to commence the case.
He said the application was filed on Friday and summons for the Monday’s proceedings had been served on the CJN.
All the six counts preferred against the CJN are said to be bordering on non- declaration of assets.
The CCT’s statement read in part, “The Code of Conduct Tribunal has scheduled Monday, January 14, 2019 for the commencement of trial against current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justce Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel for alleged non-declaration of assets.
“This was consequent to an application filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau to the CCT Chairman yesterday (Friday) for the trial to commence against the Chief Justice of Nigeria on six charges.
“However, service of summons has been effected to the defendant.
“The three-man panel led by Justice Danladi Y. Umar, will commence the trial on Monday, January 14, 2019 at its courtroom, situated at the headquarter, along Jabi Daki biyu, Saloman Lar way, Abuja, at 10:00am.
“The application was filed yesterday by the operatives of CCB, dated January 11, 2019 and signed by Musa Ibrahim Usman (Esq) and Fatima Danjuma Ali (Esq), containing six charges all bordering on non-declaration of assets.”

‘Racist’ classroom picture trending IN South AFRICA

A South African primary school teacher was suspended on Thursday after a photograph appeared to show black children sitting separately from white children in a classroom, sparking a storm of racism accusations.
The pupils were attending their first day at the Schweizer-Reneke school in North West province when the teacher took a photograph to send to anxious parents.
It rapidly spread on social media as it showed about 17 white children sitting around a large table, with four black children around a small corner table in the background.
“From the information I got from the meeting, it seems that there are a lot of cases here of racism,” provincial education minister Sello Lehari said after visiting the school.
“I will send a team to do an investigation into all schools… to deal with issues of racism in totality.”
Race relations remain tense in South Africa 25 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule, with fierce racist controversies erupting regularly on social media and in politics.
“We saw the photo and we were also angered by what we saw,” Jozeph du Plessis, chairman of the school’s governors, told the eNCA television channel.
“The kids were quite unsettled — you must realise they were five years old on their first day at school — and she grouped them in a way she thought would settle them quickly and comfort them.
“There was no intent of racism or segregation from the teacher’s side.
“We are investigating, perhaps it could be a language issue, perhaps those kids are not speaking Afrikaans, but I can’t speculate.”
Some white parents on Thursday took their children away from the school after protesters gathered outside.

Daily Nation.