By Melvin Jackson
MONROVIA: The Supreme Court of Liberia has lifted its suspension imposed on former Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission Boss A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, thereby permitting him to practice law in the courts of the republic as a counsellor at law.
The Supreme Court of Liberia, on the 21 of August, nullified the expulsion of Cllr. A. Ndubudsi Nwabudike by the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) and ordered the Ministry of Justice to take seize of the matter and investigate whether Nwabudike is a Liberian citizen or not.
At the time, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor said the decision taken by the LNBA to remove and eject Cllr. Nwabudike from the practice of law for alleged fraud was tantamount to disbarment, something he said can only be done by the nation’s highest court.
The former Chief Justice said the court has given the responsibility to the Ministry of Justice to investigate whether the citizenship of Cllr. Nwabudike was indeed obtained by fraud.
Justice Korkpor disclosed that it will be wrong for Cllr. Nwabudike continued the practice of law in Liberia when it’s quite clear the documents he filed which necessitated his admission to the practice of law in Liberia are wrapped in inconsistencies and discrepancies.
The court instructed the Ministry of Justice to take seize of the matter, and if deemed appropriate, institute proceedings to revoke and set aside the order admitting Cllr. Nwabudike’s Liberian citizenship and cancels his certificate of naturalization.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Justice investigated and found that Cllr. Nwabudike’s eligibility is supported by the records of the Liberia Immigration Service which established that his father acquired naturalization in 1954, prior to his birth in 1963.
The investigation by the Justice Ministry stated that they have determined Cllr. Nwabudike is eligible to apply for certificate of citizenship nunc pro tunc, consistent with section 21.31(2) of the Alien and Nationality laws of Liberia, and maintained, “Our determination is pursuance to section 21.31(1&2) and 21.50(f) of the Alien and Nationality law of Liberia”
Consistent with the investigative report, the high court heard a petition filed with the Court by the suspended Nigerian-born Liberia lawyer to restore his rights, and in a judgment yesterday said the Cllr Nwabudike’s status as a Supreme Counsellor-at-Law and as a legal practitioner in all courts of law within the Republic of Liberia is restored.
The court added that the petitioner had been in compliance with the said Mandate suspending him not to practice law within Liberia and has been praying the Court to reinstate him to the practice of law.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court said it convened and reviewed the Petitioner’s Petition for reinstatement to the practice of law in the jurisdiction, and found that his right to the practice of law should be restored.
While the Supreme Court Bench added that it is satisfied that the period for which the former LACC boss Ndubuisi Nwabudike was suspended from the practice of law have expired, and that he has obtained an OATH OF ALLEGIANCE consistent with law on the 9th day of February A. D. 2023, the court notwithstanding said the proceedings required should be commenced by the Attorney General/Minister of Justice as provided by the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia,” the court document stressed.
The Ministry of Justice having taken control of the investigation, and Nwabudike cooperating with the current government, many in the public believe he should walk as a freeman.
But the Supreme Court on the other hand said, while the LNBA decision has been nullified, it would be also wrong for Nwabudike to continue practicing law, when quite clearly the documents he filed which necessitated his admission to the practice of law in Liberia are wrapped in inconsistencies and discrepancies to which he failed to specifically address himself before the GEC.
As a result, it has ordered the Attorney General to take seize of the matter, and if deem necessary, institute proceeding to revoke and set aside the order admitting the Nwabudike to Liberian Citizenship and cancel his certificate of naturalization.