Lawyers of the ‘disbarred’ chairman of the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike, yesterday left the Civil Law Court in jubilation when Judge Kennedy Peabody refused to hear argument into a request made by the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) to dismiss Cllr. Nwabudike’s lawsuit against the Bar.
Rather, Judge Peabody later commenced hearing into the merit of the motion for preliminary injunction filed by Nwabudike, asking the Court to declare his right against his expulsion from the LNBA. The LNBA expelled Cllr. Nwabudike’s membership on grounds that he obtained his Liberian citizenship through fraudulent means, which makes him unqualified to be practice law in the country. It was against said expulsion that Nwabudike asked the Court to place a restraining order.
But in counter-argument, the LNBA asked the Court to dismiss the complaint by the LACC boss, since the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear the petition for judicial review that Nwabudike requested. Denying the LNBA’s request, Judge Peabody explained that while it is true that the LNBA’s motion to dismiss raised the issue of jurisdiction, on the other hand, a motion for preliminary injunction restrains the rights of an individual or things without having the hearing.
Hence, judge Peabody informed the parties that the said motion should be given priority. Additionally, Judge Peabody said, “there is no law, as far as this court is concerned, that a motion to dismiss should take precedent over a motion for a preliminary injunction.”
“This Court is of the opinion [that] the motion to vacate the preliminary injunction will take precedence over the motion to dismiss since, indeed and in fact, the right of someone is been restrained,” Judge Peabody ruled.
It may be recalled that on June 19, 2020, the LNBA expelled Nwabudike for having fraudulently acquired Liberian citizenship, which qualified him to become a lawyer in Liberia. According to the law, a person must be a Liberian citizen before he or she can practice law in the Court, which requirement the Bar is now claiming that Nwabudike did not meet.
In counter-argument, Nwabudike said the LNBA does not have any statutory backing to investigate citizenship. He further argued that investigation about citizenship lies within the purview of the Liberian Immigration Service at the Ministry of Justice and other relevant institutions and not the LNBA. Nwabudike’s lawyers also claimed that he attended the Louis Arthur Grimes school of law at the University of Liberia before being admitted into the LNBA and to the Supreme Court as a lawyer, which is a requirement as a Liberian to practice law in the country.