By Grace Q. Bryant
The Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) is appealing to the Supreme Court to uphold recommendations within it findings by revoking Ndibuke Nwabudike’s liscense to practice law in Liberia.
In its argument during yesterday’s hearing before the high court, the counsel for the appellee, Golda Bona Elliot, appealed for the disbarment of the former LACC boss from all legal practice within the borders of Liberia for lying about his citizenship.
According to Cllr. Elliot, the proceeding before the Supreme Court is not to revoke Nwabudike’s citizenship rather the proceeding is intended to remove him from the practice of law.
She told the court that it is believed that when a citizenship or a person is shaded in doubts, the Supreme Court has the right to deny such person without a mandate from the Attorney General as indicated in the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia.
Cllr. Elliot noted that the Attorney General has failed to exercise the power given him to revoke Nwabudike’s license under the Alien and Nationality Law and as such, it is the high court that can therefore take seize of the matter.
She wondered if Nwabudike actually lost his documents during the war as claimed, wondering, “Where than did he take those documents to have same submitted to the National Legislature?”
“I believe the documents submitted to the Supreme Court were not the same submitted to the Senate; had that been the case, the court would have noticed it and taken action,” the plaintiff lawyer argued.
Cllr. Elliot further stated that the code of moral professional and ethical conduct applied to the former LACC boss on grounds that he took an oath and if his fraud is uncovered, he must account; explaining, “What the bar did was to say you are not our member because we did not make you a lawyer and that is the matter before the Civil Law Court.”
She also pleaded with the court to review the dates of birth, documents and testimony by Nwabudike and come up with a determination.
But in their resistance, Cllr. Jimmy Momoh contented that the code of conduct of the Bar cannot apply to only those who are lawyers and that whatever happened prior to Nwabudike becoming lawyer cannot take effect on him.
According to Cllr. Momoh, the Supreme Court does not have the power to disbar a lawyer who attained a Liberian citizenship by alleged through a fraudulent means rather it is the Attorney General of Liberia.
He indicated that if a person’s citizenship is revoked automatically, his license is revoked therefore until Nwabudike’s citizenship is revoked by the Attorney General, his license cannot be revoked neither can he be disbarred from the practice of law.
“The law conferred upon the Attorney General the power to set up guidelines to revoke citizenship of anyone who attained it by illegal means, therefore, unless the citizenship issue is addressed, the LNBA and Supreme Court cannot question Nwabudike’s membership,” the lawyer representing the appellant noted.
He claimed that the Bar is also overlapping the function of the high court on grounds that it is only the honorable court that can formulate the code of conduct for lawyers and it is only that court that can penalize lawyers if there is a breach.
Nwabudike’s legal counsel further contested that the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter. Meanwhile, the court has reserved ruling into the matter.
LNBA Wants Nwabudike Barred From Practicing Law
By Grace Q. Bryant