Ladies and Gentlemen of the press,
The purpose of this press engagement is for the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) to inform the Liberian people through the press about its findings and decision on the critical issue of the Liberian citizenship of Cllr. A. Nbudusi Nwabudike and his controversial membership of the Liberian National Bar Association. You will recall that during the Senate confirmation hearings of Cllr. A. Nbudusi Nwabudike for the position of Chairman of the National Elections Commission, the issue of the validity of his Liberian citizenship was brought into question and his woeful failure to convince members of the Senate, dominated the hearing and became the single reason for his outright rejection by the Senate and subsequent withdrawal of his nomination by the President of Liberia.
The doubt raised by the Senate over the citizenship of Cllr. Nwabudike by extension, cast a very dark cloud over the integrity and credibility of the Liberian National Bar Association and the Judiciary in evaluating applicants for admission into the legal profession. The LNBA felt duty bound to investigate and find out what the truth is relative to Cllr. Nwabudike’s Liberian citizenship. Therefore, the National Executive Council of the Liberian National Bar met and mandated the President of the Liberian National Bar Association to instruct the Grievance and Ethics Committee to launch a full scale investigation into this matter. As a professional body, the LNBA is under a duty at all times to constantly monitor and evaluate the moral and professional conduct of its members based on information acquired through complaints by individuals or through the public.
The Liberian National Bar Association wishes to emphasize that the legal profession is unique among the professions in Liberia because it is the only profession that is given protection by the Constitution of Liberia. Article 21(i) of the Constitution provides,”… There shall be absolute immunity from any government sanctions or interference in the performance of legal services as a Counsellor or Advocate…” Therefore, the LNBA is under a moral obligation to honor this protection provided by the Constitution of Liberia with the highest degree of integrity and credibility in order to prove to the people of Liberia that the legal profession is worthy of this unique protection. As the saying goes to whom much is given, much is expected. The LNBA therefore, could not ignore the issue of the citizenship status of one of its members when information provided by him created doubt over the authenticity and veracity of his claim of Liberian citizenship.
In order to ensure that the investigation is thorough and meticulous, the LNBA acted within the confines of legal speed by exhausting all means possible to provide Cllr. Nwabudike his right to due process. The LNBA is therefore pleased to give a brief summary of the process on how the LNBA proceeded in order as follows:
On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, the President of the LNBA wrote the Grievance Ethics Committee of the LNBA based upon a decision taken by the National Executive Council, mandating it to investigate and submit its report regarding the issue of the citizenship of Cllr. A. N. Nwabudike, given the level of public debate that had arisen over this issue and the cloud it had created over the integrity of the process of admission to the practice of law in Liberia; and
On April 2, 2020, the Grievance and Ethics Committee sent a letter to Cllr. A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, informing him of the mandate of the National Executive Council and inviting him to appear before the committee with all relevant documents in support of his claim of Liberian citizenship. The Committee immediately communicated with the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS), the Clerk of the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Assisizes (B), the Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law and the Clerk of the Supreme Court, in order to independently acquire relevant information pertaining to the citizenship of Cllr. Nwabudike.
Interestingly, on April 6, 2020, Cllr. Nwabudike wrote the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the LNBA in which (1)he questioned the basis of the investigation, contending that there was no complaint before the LNBA “challenging his citizenship”; (2) that he had not violated any provision of the Code of Professional Ethics governing the conduct of lawyers; (3) he argued that citizenship is given by the Government of Liberia and it is only the Government of Liberia that can challenge or revoke it; and (4) erroneously argued that the issue of his citizenship was now moot, since the issue was not raised when he was admitted as attorney-at-law and subsequently as counselor-at-law. He however promised to meet with the Grievance and Ethics Committee, in order to provide it further clarification. He copied the Chief Justice of the Honorable Supreme Court and the Minister of Justice on his reply to the letter from the Grievance and Ethics Committee.
On April 13, 2020, Cllr. Nwabudike was written a letter inviting him to appear before the Grievance and Ethics Committee on April 24, 2020, at 11:00AM, but he did not appear. Again, on April 27, 2020, Cllr. Nwabudike was sent a letter to appear before the same committee for investigation on April 30, 2020 at 11:00AM, but he did not appear. Further, on May 6, 2020, Cllr. Nwabudike was written a letter to appear before the committee for a hearing on May 8, 2020, but he did not appear. On May 18, 2020, Cllr. Nwabudike was written to appear before the committee on May 27, 2020 for investigation, but he did not show up. Additionally, the Committee, invited him through two publications in the Inquirer Newspaper on May 11, 2020 and May 15, 2020 for appearance, but he failed to appear. These publications were also sent to Cllr. Nwabudike via DHL sent to him via DHL, yet failed, refused to appear, in complete disregard for the Liberian National Bar Association.
In view the defiant posture of Cllr. Nwabudike, as demonstrated by his deliberate failure and refusal to honor all the citations sent to him to appear for the inquiry that the Grievance and Ethics Committee was mandated by the National Executive Council to conduct, the Committee then proceeded to carry out its mandate by relying on independent sources for information on the validity of Cllr. Nwabudike’s Liberian citizenship. The following information was obtained by the Committee regarding Cllr. Nwabudike’s Liberian citizenship:
On April 3, 2020, the Liberian Immigration Service wrote a letter informing the Grievance and Ethics Committee that it did not have any record on Cllr. Nwabudike legal residency status or naturalization in Liberia;
On April 6, 2020, the Committee obtained a clerk certificate from the Clerk of the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Assizes “B” Temple of Justice, informing it that it had no record about Cllr. Nwabudike’s residency or naturalization status;
From documents obtained from the Senate Confirmation hearings of Cllr. Nwabudike and the pleadings in the record of the Civil Law Court on a petition for declaratory judgment filed by him, the Grievance and Ethics Committee found the following inconsistent information:
A purported certificate of naturalization presented to the Liberian Senate by Cllr. Nwabudike showed that he was issued same by Criminal Court “B” at the Temple of Justice on May 13, 1982, when in fact that court was called the People’s Criminal Court “B” during the regime of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), thereby creating more doubt;
A perusal of His various passports showed his birth dates as October 19, 1960, October 2, 1963, October 2, 1965 and October 2, 1969;
His 2004 Liberian Passport carries his date of birth as October 2, 1963 and his name as A. Nkwuka Ndubuisi Nwabudike, instead of the name that appears on the roster of the Liberian National Bar Association and Supreme Court Bar which is A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike;
His Liberian National Identification card carries his date of birth as October 2, 1969 and his name as A. Ndubuisi Nkwuka Nwabudike; and
His application for marriage certificate dated January 22, 1992, filled by himself in handwriting carries his name as A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, his date of birth as October 19, 1960 and his nationality as Nigerian;
In view of the information received from the Liberia Immigration Service and First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Assizes “B” that there is no record to support Cllr. Nwabudike’s claim of Liberian citizenship, the existence of information showing gross inconsistency in his dates of birth and names, as well as, the fact that in his application to the Marriage Registry, he declared in his own handwriting in 1992 that he was a Nigerian Citizen, the only valid, logical and common sense conclusion that could be reached by the Grievance and Ethics Committee was that he became a member of the Liberian National Bar Association through fraudulent means. It is a well-settled common law principle that fraud vitiates everything.
The committee therefore, recommended that Cllr. A. Nbudusi Nwabudike be expelled, consistent with Article II Section IX of the Constitution of the Liberian National Bar Association, which provides, “Any member may, after inquiry, be disciplined by means of suspension or expulsion from membership of the Association for proven gross misconduct in his relations to the Association or in his professional undertaking upon two thirds votes of the Membership of the National Executive Council.” At a meeting of the National Executive Council held at 3:00PM, on yesterday, May 18, 2020 here at the headquarters of the Liberian National Bar Association, the Grievance and Ethics Committee’s recommendation that Cllr. A. Nbudusi Nwabudike be expelled was approved by a vote of two thirds members of the National Executive Council of the Liberian National Bar Association. Hence, Cllr. A. N. Nwabudike is hereby expelled from the membership of the Liberian National Bar Association. His name is hereby stricken from the roster of the membership of the Liberian National Bar Association.
This decision will be shortly communicated to the President of the Republic of Liberia, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia and all courts throughout the Republic of Liberian.
I Thank you.