RE: CAMPAIGN AND ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MY PERSON- HERE WE GO AGAIN!
My attention has been drawn to various newspaper paid advertisements calculated at disparaging my person and aimed at discouraging me from discharging my responsibilities as a legislator and as the leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives. To my traducers let me quickly and unequivocally state that I am not deterred but remain focused and even emboldened in my determination to continue to bring germane national issues to the fore and to hold the presidency and those in charge of our affairs accountable. Because I believe in accountability, I also must be accountable to the electorate. It is for this reason and this reason alone that I have decided to respond to a faceless and amorphous group that lack the courage to affix their names to their publications. Let me state very clearly that yes I was sanctioned by the Georgia Bar Disciplinary Board for professional misconduct and negligence due to an unfortunate ethical violation that took place about 10 years ago in 2003. There are no ifs, buts or ands about it. However here are the facts:
1. I returned to Nigeria in 2002 to prepare for party primaries and general elections. Prior to leaving the US, I had left instructions with my paralegal to close out pending files when due. He had instructions to pay my client 25000 dollars whenever her cheque was sent in. The cheque did not come in until January 2003 as the records show at which time I had already been in Nigeria for over 6 months. Unfortunately after paying in the cheque as instructed, he withdrew the money again as instructed with the cheque I had given him and he never paid the client but made away with it.
2. This did not come to my knowledge until I received a letter from the Georgia Bar in 2005. The letter was addressed to my Lagos address which I had left with the Georgia Bar as my contact address for any housekeeping matter that may arise after I might have left. It is necessary to state this as it is alleged that I absconded.
3. Upon receipt of the letter I immediately travelled to Atlanta to find out what was going on. Upon discovery of what had happened and being unable to trace the paralegal, I found myself in a bind as the disciplinary committee insisted I had violated rule 1.15 of Georgia Professional conduct pertaining to safe keeping, co-mingling of funds and allowing others to handle clients money. I accepted full responsibility and was sanctioned with a suspension. Had I anything to hide, I would not have gone back to Atlanta to clear all the issues.
4. This was a matter of not complying with strict ethical rules. At no time was I tried by any court for any criminal offence as it was never such. Attached is a letter from the State Bar of Georgia and paragraph 2 is very instructive. It should be noted that the Supreme Court of Georgia is vested with jurisdiction over professional ethics cases.
5. As evidenced in the attached letter, I am eligible to practice law in Georgia and remain in good standing. A convict can NEVER be eligible to practice law in the United States!
6. My family has always used the names Gbajabiamila and Gbaja interchangeably. For me, Gbaja was a lot easier for pronunciation in a foreign country and Gbajabiamila was more desirable for my adventure into politics for the purposes of name recognition. Any suggestion that I changed my name to avoid being traced, smacks of desperation to make a baseless allegation stick. Indeed I have maintained Gbaja as my Facebook name.
7. It should be noted that by law 33 percent of amount received is charged as legal fees by a US attorney for personal injury cases. Therefore, the amount was 25000 less than 33percent legal fees. No sane person would put his legal or political career in jeopardy for that.
8. Because of my strong belief in accountability and unknown to my traducers, I had publicly disclosed this incident to the whole world in a book (FEARLESS) about my political career that was published by Dr Wale Okediran (a renowned author) and launched June 27th of this year. I will refer this faceless group to Page 29 of the book which speaks as regards the issue. It is therefore clear that I had nothing to hide.
9. The cowardly act of this group shows unfortunately how degenerate our politics has become. To the discerning, it is clear where these attacks are coming from and indeed a crying shame that an elected representative can no longer speak freely in defense of those who elected him and in the interest of the country. I find it rather curious that these attacks came on the heels (only 3 days) of my moving for articles of impeachment against Mr President come September 18 if the proper thing is not done and the constitution and laws of the country continue to be violated. At no time did I ever think taking on a powerful office would be a tea party or would not produce virulent attacks. Such would be naivety on my part. However I am propelled by the belief that the hottest part of hell is reserved for those who say nothing when they should.
I wish to state that I have never prophesied to be saintly neither have I paraded myself as perfect. However my imperfections should not and will not stop me from doing that which is right. I have always believed and still do, that a mandate is not fulfilled upon election, rather it is fulfilled in standing up after the election to speak for the people who gave you that mandate. I have been given a mandate three times and I will continue to do the bidding of the owners of my mandate.
For the avoidance of doubt let me repeat my comments on the floor of the House just 5 days ago: "I like my President, but I like my people and my country more. If Mr President does not implement the budget 100% by September 18, this House must begin to file articles of impeachment against him” To this faceless group my position has not changed.
I must also remind Mr President that it is on record that I fought tirelessly for him to be made the Acting President in this country and I was the first and only legislator to move a motion to that effect on the floor when it was difficult to do so. It is with that same passion that I will continue to push that he obeys the laws of the land. That is my job. No more no less, and for that I have no apologies.
I have stated my case now let the President state his. Now as we were saying Mr President Sir before the debate was rudely interrupted by these guys, where is the peoples' money?
HON FEMI GBAJABIAMILA
LEADER OF OPPOSITION
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES