Liberia: NEC Legal Officer Responds to Claim about His Academic Qualifications
A. Teage Jalloh is responding to the recent decision taken by two of the Liberian Senate's statutory committees to investigate him over “purported” academic qualifications. The probe came after Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence informed her colleagues that the NEC lawyer is unfit and unqualified for the job.
“Accordingly, he (Jalloh) has not been admitted to the Supreme Court Bar as counselor-at-law,” said the Senator Karnga-Lawrence, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Rules, Order, and Administration. “On the strength of the same law denying him admission, Mr. Jalloh is absolutely unqualified to practice in Liberia until his citizenship issue is resolved. As things stand, he is merely a law school graduate and not a lawyer.”
Dear Mr. Editor,
I write in reference to the Daily Observer’s February 8, 2023 publication, regarding certain allegations submitted to the Honorable Liberian Senate against me. Your publication ended by stating that I have not responded to the “concerns raised”.
For the record, I have not been notified or served with any such allegations, to which I can specifically respond. Hence, my purpose here is to provide the following undeniable facts to your readers:
- I’m not “merely a law school graduate,” as the publication insinuated. To the contrary, I am admitted to practice in several jurisdictions, and have been in the active practice of law for the past 18 years.
- I graduated from the ABA-approved Thomas M. Cooley Law School, located in Michigan, U.S.A. on September 18, 2004. Subsequent to my graduation, I sat for and passed two separate bar exams in the United States and, as a result, was admitted as an attorney and counsellor at law in the following jurisdictions in the United States:
- State of New Jersey Bar, admitted in 2005. Lawyer ID #: 003382005;
- District of Columbia Bar, admitted in 2006. Lawyer ID#: 499945.
- State of Pennsylvania Bar, admitted in 2007. Lawyer ID#: 204794.
- I’m also admitted to practice in several U.S. Federal Courts.
- In 2015, I sat for and passed (with the highest score) the Liberian bar exam to be admitted as an attorney-at-law; was subsequently admitted in August 2015 as an attorney-at-law; and has been a member in good standing with the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) since my admission to present.
- On the issue of citizenship, I am a Liberian citizen. It is worth noting that Liberians worldwide woke up on December 23, 2019, to news that the Honorable Supreme Court had ruled that the provision in the 1973 Aliens and Nationality Act on automatic loss of citizenship, which some had relied on to deprive certain Liberians of citizenship, was in fact abrogated on January 6, 1986, for being in violation of the Constitution’s due process clause and, as a result, such provisions had no legal effect on the named petitioner or any other Liberians. This was a landmark decision (Jalloh v. Minister King-Akerele, Attorney General Tah, and Ambassaodor Barnes), for it shielded the citizenship rights of thousands of Liberians from the then politics of the moment.
- The record will further show that I was several years into my private law practice in the United States when several Liberians in the diaspora asked me, a natural-born citizen of Liberia who was a minor at the start of the Liberian civil war, to be the named plaintiff/petitioner in that landmark citizenship case. I am proud of the fact that when hope laid still on that citizenship issue, we organized ourselves and collectively executed the plan that defeated the mindset that sought to unlawfully deprive Liberians of their citizenship rights. Hence, if there is still somebody out there who believes that the petitioner (yours truly) through whom that landmark decision of December 23, 2019 was obtained is a “foreigner”, then one could try from now to judgment day and would also be unable to convince that person that Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first elected female head of state in Africa.
A. Teage Jalloh, Esq.