Police in Gbarnga, Bong County, have arrested a 41-year-old man identified as Emmanuel Tamba and charged him with theft of property and impersonation for allegedly presenting himself as a lawyer, luring his clients into believing that he was a legal practitioner.
The arrest of Tamba brings to two the number of persons who have recently posed as lawyers, misleading people seeking justice.
On Thursday, October 11, while arguing a summary proceeding application for one of his clients against Magistrate Quincy A.Q. Garnett of the Bensonville Magisterial Court in Montserrado County, Judge Boima Kontoe of Criminal Court ‘B’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia suspected that the other imposter, Rudolph Hightower, was not a lawyer, and therefore ordered his immediate arrest.
Judge Kontoe later surrendered Hightower to the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice where he was identified by others as a “fake lawyer,” and subsequently handcuffed and forwarded to the Monrovia Central Prison to await his trial for impersonation, because he could not find anyone to secure his bail to prevent him from going to jail.
But in Gbarnga, according to police investigation, Tamba was charged on Monday, October 15, while impersonating a lawyer representing the legal interest of a client, identified as Jerry Ricks, at the 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga.
Police investigation earlier established that Tamba had allegedly duped Ricks of L$24,000 and a sheep as part of his legal fees since August this year.
Ricks, police records said, had contacted Tamba to represent the legal interest of three of his relatives (names not disclosed), who were involved in an alleged murder case in Bobota, Sanoyea District sometime ago.
Ricks also told police investigators that since then the Tamba has failed on several occasions to appear in court as per the assignment of the case.
“I reliably got to know lately that Tamba is not a lawyer. Rather, he is a fake lawyer and mimic character,” Ricks said in disappointment. “My investigation also tells me that this man has been impersonating as pastor in Monrovia,” Ricks also told police in Gbarnga.
When contacted at the Gbarnga Police Headquarters, Tamba denied the allegation and termed it as “character assassination.” He said that he is a lawyer by profession and a 2009 graduate of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia.
He named Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor; assigned Magistrate at the Barnesville Magisterial Court, Augustine Fallah; and the Deputy County Defender for Bong, Mohammed Golafalaye, as some of his classmates.
Tamba told reporters that he has practiced in the Monrovia City Court, the Barnesville Magisterial Court, the Brewerville Magisterial Court, the Paynesville City Court, and the newly established Omega Magisterial Court, all in Monrovia.
Although Tamba admitted not being a licensed lawyer, he named Cllr. Sianneh Gibson of Criminal Court ‘E’ at the Temple of Justice as someone who knows him as a practicing lawyer.
“I don’t have a license, because I failed the Liberia National Bar aptitude test; but I am not a mimic, so I will challenge this in court,” Tamba said in self-defense.
Although all those Tamba named as his associates could not be reached for confirmation, one of them, Atty. Golafalaye, denied ever seeing Tamba anywhere until police arrested him for impersonation.
Tamba told police that he received L$24,000 and a sheep from Ricks as part payment for legal fees, but the actual fee for his legal representation in the case was US$500.
“The guys were charged with murder; but I was fighting to reduce the charge to manslaughter. You know legal battle requires time and patience, but Mr. Ricks lacks these attributes,” Tamba remarked.