-LNBA Mandates Committee To Expeditiously Conduct Investigation Into Circumstances Surrounding His Citizenship
By R. Joyclyn Wea
The National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman-designate, Cllr. A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike legal license is expected to be terminated by the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) if his citizenship status is proven otherwise.
As the results, the National Executive Committee of LNBA has mandated its Grievance and Ethics Committee to expeditiously conduct an investigation into facts and circumstances surrounding the issues being raised about the citizenship of Cllr. Nwabudike in order to verify whether or not he met the requirements of becoming a citizen of Liberia.
Section 17.1 of the judiciary law restricts the practice of law in Liberia to only Liberian citizens and as such; it is important for the Bar to probe into the matter due to continuing doubts being expressed regarding Cllr. Nwabudike citizenship and his responses regarding how he obtained his Liberian citizenship.
This is to enable the Bar proceed with appropriate legal steps if a contrary conclusion is reached by the Bar regarding the citizenship of the NEC Chairman designate.
The Bar believes that elections, peace, and socioeconomic development are inseparable so, it is no doubt that NEC is regarded as one of the most important vehicle in achieving sustainable peace and constitutional democracy in Liberia.
The Bar Maintains that the success of any democratic elections must begin with amassing public trust, and attaining credibility, in the electoral system and those who are appointed as stewards of the elections system.
The Liberian National Bar further notes that the discontentment, apprehension, and protestations from several political parties, civil society groupings and the general public that have eclipsed the nomination and confirmation process of the NEC Commissioners designate.
Accordingly, the Bar advises National Government to ensure that the citizenry have trust in NEC so as to have assurance that their will would be reflected through a transparent and credible process, as provided for in article 1 of the Liberian constitution.
It states that “the people shall have the right to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections.”
When contacted, the Secretary General of the Liberia National bar Association said “What the bar took interest in, is if that happens to be the case, on the surface. There are already some problems under that particular assertion; there is a problem under the alien and naturalization law of Liberia, from what he said, that he naturalized at the age of 17.”
“The committee has done its legal research and will submit it to the Grievance and Ethics committee, which is headed by Cllr. Milton Taylor. The Executive council, which is the highest decision making body in the absence of convention, to look at the veracity and ascertain the legal ramification and report to the bar. The intent is to give due process to Cllr. Nwabudike,” he said.
He further added “We will not make any formal position unless that committee has collected information and the facts are reported to the Liberia National Bar Association. The committee’s work is to investigate and authenticate the claims and counter claims. Under out jurisprudence, perjury and forgery is a crime. Only Liberians are eligible to practice law in our courts. Based on the committee’s report, the bar will decide. But the penalties are there. I can’t say anything now in the absence of the commute’s report.”
“The bar cannot be held liable for what Cllr. Nwabudike did. Very soon , the bar will start to issue license to lawyers to practice law. This work started over two weeks ago before the issue of Nwabudike came about. It is just by coincidence. It will issue license before you practice law in Liberia. You will sign an application with some bio-data. Not because of this. The intentions is to weed out imposters,”he said.
Alphonso has been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters. Mr. Toweh holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution.