— Criminal Court ‘B’ discloses
“This is to certify that after a careful perusal of the records of this Honorable Court on the herein above-named person, Augustine Ndubusi Nwabudike regarding his naturalization of May 1982, we have not found any document up to the issuance of this certificate,” Criminal Court ‘B’ Clerk Ben George Teah said.
“In furtherance of our check, we communicated with the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS) and they replied that after a thorough search of their records, they have not found any information on the aforesaid individual regarding his legal residence status or naturalization,” Teah said in a clerk certificate issued to Cllr. Finley Karngar.
Initially, Cllr. Karngar had petitioned the court to search and discover information about Nwabudike’s naturalization document dating back to May 1982.
Cllr. Karngar, currently a professor at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia (UL), is the lawyer who accompanied Henry Costa during his (Costa’s) first appearance at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) headquarters to explain how he obtained a liassez-passer, which was alleged to have been forged.
Shortly after Karngar was issued the certificate from Criminal Court ‘B’, he briefly told journalists his next step is to see the prosecution of Nwabudike. President George Weah had since last week withdrawn the nomination of Cllr. Nwabudike as chairman-designate for the National Elections Commission (NEC) after being greeted with mixed reactions.
During his confirmation hearing, Nwabudike informed the Senators that he was born in 1964 and subsequently obtained his citizenship in 1982, meaning that he was 17 years old when he applied for his naturalization and subsequently obtained his citizenship from Criminal Court ‘B.’
Nwabudike also informed the Senators that during his application process, the court required of him to bring parental consent and an adult to take the oath since he was minor.
“When I had my declaration of intents, I was a minor and because of that, I was required to bring a parental consent and an adult to stand to take the oath behind me. In this jurisdiction, our law requires that if a minor wants to get married, it requires parental consent. My argument here is that the court has set a precedent that when a minor wants to make a decision or a position of an adult, parental consent is required, and it can be granted under the law when it is done in the presence of a qualified adult,” Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike said.
However, the Senators argued on the basis of the Alien and Naturalization Law, which provides that: “No person shall file a petition for naturalization unless he shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.”
That was contrary to Nwabudike’s contention that he was 17 year-old when he filed and appeared before Criminal Court ‘B” for the process leading to his naturalization and subsequently obtaining his citizenship.
Subchapter C of the Alien and Nationality Law provides ground for revocation of naturalization which, among other things, says: “It shall be the duty of the Attorney General, upon affidavit showing good cause therefor, to institute proceedings for the purpose of revoking and setting aside the order admitting a person to citizenship and cancelling the certificate of naturalization on any of the following grounds.
“(a) That the order admitting such person to citizenship and the certificate of Naturalization were procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation; (b) that at the time the person acquired citizenship, he was not eligible to such citizenship by some existing law of Liberia; (c) That at the time the person acquired citizenship, he was not eligible to enter or reside in Liberia.
It concludes: “(d) That the person who acquired citizenship was not of good moral character at the time he was admitted to citizenship and such fact was not then known; (e) That at the time the person was admitted to citizenship, he was an anarchist or not attached to the principles of the Constitution of Liberia and such fact was not then known; (f) That the order admitting such person to citizenship was issued through manifest error of law or fact, or that the order was issued before it should be, or that the laws governing naturalization have not been fully complied with; provided that if the error can be remedied by procedural means, the person admitted to citizenship through such error shall be allowed a reasonable opportunity after notice to institute corrective proceedings before the Attorney General acts to revoke citizenship and cancel the certificate of naturalization.
The question remains: is the Attorney General willing to join the effort of Cllr. Karngar to prosecute Nwabudike?