Self-proclaimed naturalized Liberian, Nigerian born Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike could face criminal prosecution and perjury charges for lying under oath before a senate confirmation hearing committee here.
He could also be disbarred as the Liberian National Bar Association now launches investigations in to how he obtained his citizenship based on his inconsistence responses at the hearing.
Cllr. Nwabudike was nominated by President George Weah on Friday March 21, to head the National Elections Commission or NEC as chair. He haslied about almost everything including his naturalization papers, date of birth, and references.
The learned counselor told Senators on Monday March 30, that he naturalized as a Liberian in 1982 at the age of 16, arguing that he was accompanied by an adult, something the country’s alien and naturalization law does allowed-an applicant must be 21.
He had earlier told a local daily that he naturalized in 1988, after he moved to Liberia in June of 1988, the same year he purportedly completed his undergraduate studies in Nigeria.
His testimonies before senators and documents he tendered in as evidence are all replete with inconsistencies, leaving Senators with no option on Wednesday but to halt his confirmation hearing.
On Wednesday for example, Cllr. Nwabudike submitted passports bearing different birthdates, while his school records from the University of Liberia had another birthdate completely different from the passports.
Earlier on Monday he submitted a photocopy of what he claimed was his naturalization certificate but with no resident permit number. Every naturalized citizen must first obtain a resident permit and must have stayed in the country for 7 years before applying for a citizenship.
If Cllr. Nwabudike’s testimony is anything to go by, it means he might have applied for his naturalization papers at age 9.
His controversial testimonies forced the Liberian National Bar Association to announce on Wednesday that it was submitting him to its Grievances and Ethics Committee to look into his citizenship claims.Section 17.1 of the Judiciary Law restricts the practice of law in Liberia to only Liberian citizens.
The LNBA says because of the continuing doubts being expressed regarding Cllr. Nwabudike’s citizenship and his responses regarding how he obtained it, he has been forwarded to the committee for immediate investigation.
So did it all start at the hearing on Wednesday April1?
Cllr. Nwabudike disgracefully consented to a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, 1 April that his passport and his records at the University of Liberia (UL) carry different years of birth, amplifying Senators’ anger over lies discovered in his personal data.
Unearthing some of the lies in the nominee’s data, Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan L. Kaipay discovered that Cllr. Nwabudike who graduated from the Louise Arthur Grimes School of Law at UL has different year of birth for his school records, and another year of birth for his Liberian passport.
Responding to the Senator’s discovery, nominee Nwabudike consented that his passport carries October 2, 1963 while his records at the University of Liberia have October 2, 1965, insisting that he does not have control over what is written about him at UL.
The Nigerian – born who claims Liberian citizenship by naturalization failed flat at the haring to present original documents as evidence that he has actually naturalized, and was also unable to present proof of his denunciation of his Nigerian citizenship.
Even after naturalization, Nigerians do not forfeit their Nigerian citizenship until they make declaration renouncing their Nigerian citizenship, and the president registers such declaration, according to Article 29 of Nigeria’s Constitution.
His failure to present to the Liberian Senate an evidence that he has renounced his Nigerian citizenship and to show proof that his declaration has been registered by the president of Nigeria appear to give the confirmation hearing a suggestion that he may still be enjoying Nigerian citizenship while he carries a Liberian passport.
Prior to his nomination by President George Manneh Weah last month to head the prestigious electoral body, the controversial naturalized Liberian lawyer has headed the Liberia Anti – Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Good Governance Commission (GC), apparently with his citizenship issues undetected by Liberia’s weak system.
Due to the nominee’s conflicting testimonies at the hearing, the Senate Committee’s Chair Senator Milton Teahjay abruptly ended the hearing, saying they could no longer continue the hearing of this NEC nominee.
The self – proclaimed Liberian Cllr. Nwabudike claims to have taken oath in court as a Liberian citizen, but he adds that there is no written document to that.
He presented a photocopy of his certificate to Senators, but he says he does not have an original copy of it. Nwabudike tells the Senators that he is a Liberian citizen because he has voted in Liberian elections on so many occasions.
Following Nwabudike’s drowning testimony at the Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, River Gee County Senator Conmany B. Wesseh urged the nominee to withdraw from the position in other to save himself from embarrassment and to save the country.
Sen. Wesseh notes that Cllr. Nwabudike has deceived the Supreme Court by serving on the Bar Association, the President of Liberia and the educational system of Liberia by graduating from the law school as a Liberian.
According to Sen. Wesseh, the Nigerian-Liberian national is not honest and he cannot serve in the key position of the country, the National Elections Commission.
Giving a little background of Liberia, Sen. Wesseh says the country has open arms to all the African countries and has allowed them to serve in positions in the country.
Also speaking, Grand Bassa County Senator NyonbleeKangar-Lawrence says the NEC chair – designate is still a Nigerian because he hasn’t denounced his citizenship in Nigeria and Liberia doesn’t have a dual citizenship.
She adds that by denouncing your citizenship in Nigeria, there are lot of processes, following which a certificate is presented.
But she observes that the nominee has not presented such certificate to the Liberian senate.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions has submitted to plenary all the other nominated commissioners of NEC, recommending their confirmation in executive session.
But opposition Liberty Party’s caucus in the Senate has rejected the confirmation of commissioner – designate Floyd Sayor who was questioned by senators over his handling of elections in Montserrado County District 13 and 15.By Othello B. Garblah & Ethel A. Tweh