Liberia: Who's Backing Cllr. Nwabudike to Defy Expulsion From LNBA?

Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike, the chair of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, who was expelled from the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), showed-up on Monday, August 10, at the opening of the August 2020 Term of Criminal Courts A,B, C, D and E, where Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie delivered the address on behalf of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor.

The LNBA is the umbrella organization of all lawyers in the country including the very justices of the Supreme Court. Initially, Justice Wolokollie had refused to accept Nwabudike's contention that his expulsion from the LNBA was illegal, stressing that "the Supreme Court of Liberia does not have Jurisdiction over private institutions because the expulsion of Ndubusi Nwabudike is involved with private institution."

Despite refusing to accept Nwabudike's request the two were invited to attend the courts opening on Monday. It is not clear as who invited Nwabudike to the event that is often graced by lawyers, particularly those who are in right standing with the LNBA, and should have excluded Nwabudike, because of his expulsion from the Bar Association.

Immediately, when contacted via mobile phone, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe described Cllr. Nwabudike's appearance as "complete defiance of the LNBA. "Let me make this clear to everybody that the Bar's decision will be respected and nobody would be allowed to undermine it," Gongloe warned. The LNBA president added: "We are going to muster support of the membership to resist the threat by anyone to undermine our decision. Cllr. Nwabudike is no longer a member of the bar and we stand by our decision nobody is going to change it."

According to Gongloe, since the expulsion of Nwabudike, the Supreme Court is yet to revoke his license from practicing as a lawyer.

"The Supreme Court is yet to revoke Nwabudike, but we are going make sure that happens very soon," Gongloe promised.

It all started when Nwabudike surprisingly entered the hall where the ceremony for the opening of the August 2020 Term of Criminal Courts was about to begin. Nwabudike was escorted by an individual believed to be one of his office staff. The individual accompanying Nwabudike was seen holding a black gown, the official dress code of all lawyers and believed to be owed by Nwabudike. Shortly after arriving at the entrance of Criminal Court 'A' where the ceremony was held, the office staff gave the gown to Nwabudike, who later donned it before entering the hall.

Minutes after Nwabudike entered in the hall, coincidentally, Justice Wolokollie followed, which raised serious concern among members of the LNBA, some of whom were heard saying, "What is he doing here? This is a compete defiance to our legal profession."

When Nwabudike entered the hall, he was not welcomed by any court officers as is usually done in the case of an executive of the LACC. Instead, Nwabudike chose to sit on the bench reserved for any other lawyers. Nwabudike was seen seated on the back row, reserved for the lawyers, without saying a word. Surprisingly, after the closing of the program, Nwabudike secretly left the hall without greeting any of his colleagues.

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