Liberia: Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala Has Become An Embarrassment to the Law Profession

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The Editor,

This young man called “Counsellor” Kanio Bai Gbala has become an embarrassment to the black gown aristocracy. He’s always in the news for the wrong reason. His letter simply suggests that he lacks personal judgment. Imagining him confidently hinging his leave of absence on FPA’s publication and nothing more.

He goes further to say he purchased the shares on behalf of his sister. Assuming arguendo that the information is true, it cannot absolve him from the ignominies that have befallen his office. Perhaps such argument would suffice for the unsuspecting masses, and the unenlightened radio talk-show hosts that are hailing him for his leave of absence.

I wonder, is he unaware that by virtue of his portfolio both of them are Politically Exposed Persons- PEPs; hence, any business dealing between them is ethically unacceptable?

Unconscientiously, he posits that he’s done “no legal wrong nor violated any conflict of interest provisions of our laws.” This reasoning is not only flawed but one that questions his legal education and intelligence. Safe to say it’s an assertion buried in infamy.

How can you claim that (1) the CEO of Creative Developers is your “friend”; (2) you bought shares from the company on behalf of your “sister”; and (3) Bill Twehway is your “godfather” (one of the reported shareholders), yet you say you’re not conflicted?
Kanio is amongst those that heighten the public perception that lawyers are enablers and masterminds of trickeries, fraud and their likes.

Chief Justice Pierre writing for the Supreme Court of Liberia opined that when a citizen in Liberia reaches that coveted place in our profession that he can be called a counsellor of the Supreme Court bar, he has by such attainment become a citizen of first rank in our political society. It must then be expected that counsellors of the Supreme Court bar are men and women of high moral standing, of integrity and of uprightness of character beyond question or doubt. To maintain this standard, it is imperative that the strictest adherence to the Code of Moral and Professional Ethics [ and the Code of Conduct for public officials] be observed at all times. Only by insisting upon this can we hope to keep the legal profession from deteriorating into a sanctuary for undesirables. Each lawyer in Liberia, be he attorney or counsellor, is committed to upholding the honor of the profession. ~20 LLR 570, [1972]~

Kanio and his likes are bad omen for the noblest of professions. It’s about time the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the bar jurisdiction be extended to probe the conduct of lawyers who are holding public offices as well…

Yours truly,

Jeremiah Samuel-Dugbo, I

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