- The minority leader of the House is said to have been found guilty of withholding a client's money
- Femi Gbajabiamila was said to have been found guilty of violating rules of the Bar of Georgia state in the United States in 2007
- Gbajabiamila was slammed a 36 months suspension by the Supreme Court of Georgia over the allegation
A report has claimed that the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamilia, was found guilty of violating rules of the Bar of Georgia state in the United States in 2007.
Sahara Reporters said was prosecuted before a Supreme Court of Georgia in 2007 and was found guilty of accepting $25,000 (N9 million at N360 per dollar) as settlement of a client’s personal injury claim.
The report which detailed the judgement showed the court heard a disciplinary matter on the Gbajabiamila's Petition for voluntary discipline which was filed under Bar Rule 4-227 (b) (2) before a formal complaint was issued.
According to the judgement, Gbajabiamila in his petition admitted violating Rule 1 .l 5 ( l) of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct set forth in Bar Rule 4-102 (d).
While it is clear that a violation of the rule is punishable by disbarment, the majority leader at that time was said to have requested the imposition of a 24-month suspension.
He also agreed to accepting a suspension of up to 36 months, a arrangement which was not objected by the Bar of Georgia as long as the suspension is no less than 36 months in duration.
The judgement read in part: "Gbaja, who has only been a member of the Bar since 2001, admits that he accepted payment of $25,000 as settlement of a client’s personal injury claims, deposited those funds in his attorney trust account in January 2003, failed to promptly disburse those funds to his client withdrew those funds for his own use, closed his practice and moved out of the country.
"Although Gbaja ultimately paid the $25,000 to his client in 2006, he admits his conduct violated Rule HS (1) and that as a result, he is subject to disbarment. In mitigation of his actions, Gbaja asserts that he has cooperated fully with disciplinary authorities, repaid his client, and is extremely remorseful for the consequences of his conduct.
Under these circumstances, we conclude that a 36-month suspension is an appropriate sanction. Accordingly, Gbaja hereby is suspended for a period of 36 months. He is reminded of his duties under Bar Rule 4-219(c)," the judgement read.
Also, TheCable reports that the lawmaker's profile on the website of the State Bar of Georgia stated that he is under “administrative suspension (licence fees)”.
The state's bar also noted that a member who has not paid licence fees for a period of no less than one or greater than five consecutive bar years; is not eligible to practice law in Georgia.
The bar however, noted that the lawyer could be eligible for reinstatement by specific steps mandated in bar rules, but will not be required to take bar exam to reinstate.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) denied endorsing Gbajabiamila for position of speakership of the House of Representatives.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, June 5, the PDP minority leader, Honourable Leo Ogor emphasized that while the caucus has directed its members to participate in meetings and strategy sessions of the APC Speakership aspirants, they never directed them to consider voting for any of the aspirants.
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