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Lawyer behind US$5M Chief Justice alleged bribe was suspended by GLC in 2017 for professional misconduct

It has emerged that  Kwasi Afrifa whose reply to a petition brought before the General Legal Council by Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI was suspended by the General Legal Council for four years in July 2017.

According to available information, Kwasi Afrifa for what the General Legal Council describes as professional misconduct.

The GLC found him guilty in three instances in which he acted against the interest of his clients by representing other clients with the same interest.

His first offence according to the General legal Council was that Mr Afrifa acted as counsel for one Dr Emelia Timpo in a probate case involving her mother’s estate and “assisted her in obtaining Letters of Administration in respect to the same estate”. “Subsequently, he acted against Dr Timpo’s interest by representing her brother called Nana Kwamina Apreh Ackah in an action with Suit No.C12/230/14 over property which forms part of the said estate,” a statement from the GLC said.

Another offence was that Lawyer Afrifa represented Kodwo Ackah, a brother of Dr Emelia Timpo, and Nana Ackah in civil proceedings “to evict his (Kodwo’s) tenant at Ashanti New Town, Kumasi”.

“Subsequently, he brought an action on behalf of his brother, Nana Kwamina Apreh Ackah, in an action with suit No.C12/230/14 over property which forms part of the said estate against the said Kodwo Ackah and Dr Emelia Timpo,” it said.

His third offence was that Lawyer Afrifa, after representing Kodwo Ackah, included his (Kodwo’s) property in the inventory of the estate in the probate action involving the siblings’ mother’s estate when he represented his siblings (Dr Emelia Timpo and Nana Kwamina Apreh Ackah”.

Lawyer Afrifa was charged and found guilty on two counts under Rule 5 (10) of the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969 L.I. 613 in the first two offences and also guilty under  Rule 9 (4) of the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969 L.I. 613 in the third offence.

Court of Appeal Reduces Suspension to Eight Months

An Appeals Court is said to have reduced the suspension of Lawyer Kwasi Afrifa to eighteen months.

The Appeals court is said to have reached its decision on the premise that the General Legal Council erred in entertaining the complaints when same issue had been raised before a Kumasi High Court and dismissed culminating in an appeal by the complainants before the Court of Appeal in Kumasi which case is still pending at the time the GLC issued the banning order.

The Court of Appeal constituted by Victor Ofoe JA, Gertrude Torkonoo JA and Surubaareh JA on November 29, 2018, granted the appeal and reduced the ban to 18 months thus ending on January 27, 2019.

Current Case with Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI

Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI dragged his former lawyer to the General Legal Council, through a petition dated 1 March 2021, to have him sanctioned concerning his handling of a case involving the petitioner and Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited.

In the petition, Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI said: “I engaged the said lawyer, Mr Kwasi Afrifa, to handle my case, in which engagement we agreed on a fee of GHS300,000, which I paid him in full”.

“In the course of handling the case, he suggested to me that it was in my interest to, besides his fully paid-up fees, provide an amount of USD100,000 to enable him to do some ‘ways and means’ (gymnastics) on my case so that we can obtain a favourable decision”.

“Being naïve and eager to see to the completion of my case favourably, I acceded to his request for him to have the money to go and perform the said gymnastics to ensure success in my case. Although I believed in the strength of my case, I decided to give him the said money based on the advice he gave”, the petition wrote.

However, he said “I realised, from is demeanour, that he did not use the money for its intended purpose as advised, and, so, I fired him from the case and asked him for a refund of the money but he has since refunded USD25,000 leaving a balance of USD75,000. All efforts to retrieve the remaining amount have failed”, he complained.

“I am appealing to you, as the chairman of the General Legal Council of lawyers, to help me retrieve my USD75,000 from Kwasi Afrifa”, he pleaded via the petition.

Response from Mr Afrifa

“At the end of July 2020, the petitioner informed me that friends of his, who were highly connected, politically, had taken him to see the Chief Justice, who had agreed to help him win his case on condition that he drops my good self, as the lawyer handling the case for him, and engage Akoto Ampaw Esq in my stead”.

“He [petitioner] further informed me that the Chief Justice has demanded a bribe of USD5 million for a successful outcome of his case and that he had already paid USD500,000 to the Chief Justice”, he claimed.

“He further indicated that he was hard-pressed to raise the remainder of the USD5 million and, so, I should refund some of the GHS300,000 paid to me as fees because he had, in line with advice of the Chief Justice, engaged Akoto Ampaw Esq as solicitor, to continue the case before the Supreme Court”, he noted.

“Out of a sense of dignity on my part, I told him that I would rather refund the entire GHS300,000 paid to me and bear the cost of air travel, hotel bills and other expenditure incurred by me in prosecuting his cases at Cape Coast and in Accra”, Mr Afrifa wrote.

He continued: “We aggregated the GHS300,000 paid to me as being the equivalent of USD50,000, which I was to refund to him without any timeline being indicated. He said he wanted the payment in dollars because he was raising the remainder of the money to be paid the Chief Justice and that currency was his currency of choice”.

“On the 27 January 2021, I paid an amount of USD25,000 to the petitioner and subsequently paidUSD15,000 to him, making a total of USD40,000, so, the outstanding amount that I have to refund to him is USD10,000”, he insisted, adding: “I am ready, willing and able to make the said payment of USD10,000 when I appear before the committee on 15 July 2021”.

“I categorically deny ever suggesting to the petitioner that he provide any money whatsoever for what he cryptically describes in the said petition as ‘ways and means (gymnastics)’. I certainly have not and will not collect or receive any such money from him”.

Source: MyNewsGh.com

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