Home / Editor's Choice / What is the Interest of GLC in Banning Lawyers?: The Case of Lawyer Kwesi Afrifa – Part 1

What is the Interest of GLC in Banning Lawyers?: The Case of Lawyer Kwesi Afrifa – Part 1

Lawyer Kwesi Afrifa’s ban: his crime and the full story…

from (L) Mr. Kwesi Afrifa and Justice Sophia Akuffo, Chief Justice & Chair of GLC
In 1997, one Minette Halm who was a primary school teacher of his at KO Methodist Primary School in Kumasi introduced one Agnes Turkson, a Kumasi based business woman who needed legal assistance. He provided it at no fees because the introduction was done by his primary school teacher.

Agnes Turkson, now deceased, had four children namely; Kodwo Ackah,

Emelia (Ackah) Timpo, and Nana Omiano and Nana Apreh Ackah.

He later evicted a tenant of Agnes Turkson upon the instruction of Agnes Turkson. He provided various services including bailing Kodwo Ackah and Nana Omiano when they were arrested by the Police for inducing a tenant to quit and damaging the tenant’s property in the process.

In July 1998, Agnes Turkson died leaving behind an estate. Nana Apreh Ackah and his sister Emelia Timpo were chosen by their family to apply for Letters of Administration and they engaged him to file the application in court for them.

The first born Kodwo Ackah filed a Caveat in 1999 claiming ownership of a house at Suame, Kumasi which belonged to the deceased mother but the title deed of which bore his name. The Caveat was dismissed and the Letters of Administration granted the two siblings of the said Kodwo Ackah.

This is how he became a more or less a family friend and a family lawyer ….this was the crime he committed which is why the General Legal Council of Ghana convicted him for 4 years without having access to his regular means of income.

I am referring to Lawyer Kwesi Afrifa, a Kumasi based lawyer who was banned by the General Legal Council on two counts of alleged conflict of interest.

Let’s start the story ….

On July 27, 2017, the General Legal Council has struck again with the sword of “injustice”. From Accra’s Lawyer Sosu to Kumasi’s Lawyer Afrifa.

General Legal Council’s Notice of Suspension portion reads:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Lawyer Kwasi Afrifa is hereby suspended from legal practice for a period of four (4) years commencing from 27th July, 2017.

The above-named lawyer was formally charged with two counts under Rule 5 (10) of the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969 L.I. 613 as follows:

Count 1

That he; having previously acted as Counsel for one Dr. Emelia Timpo in a probate action involving her mother’s estate and assisted her in obtaining Letters of Administration in respect of the same estate, subsequently acted against her 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 and ;

Count 2

That he, having previously acted as counsel for one Kodwo Ackah, the legal owner of property No, 19A in a Civil Proceedings to evict his tenant at the Ashanti New Town Court, Kumasi, subsequently 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.

Lawyer Afrifa was also formally charged with a third count under Rule 9 (4) of the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969 L.I. 613 that he; having previously acted as Counsel for one Kodwo Ackah of property No. 19A in civil proceedings to evict his tenant at the Ashanti New Town Court, Kumasi subsequently represented his siblings in a probate action involving their mother’s estate and included the said Kodwo Ackah’s property (aforesaid) in the inventory of the estate.

Misinformation and distortion of facts in the General Legal Council’s Notice of Suspension of Lawyer Afrifa:

Count 1

That he; having previously acted as Counsel for one Dr. Emelia Timpo in a probate action involving her mother’s estate and assisted her in obtaining Letters of Administration in respect of the same estate, subsequently acted against her 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 and ;

The fact on Count 1: Dr. Emelia Timpo became a client of Lawyer Afrifa on the basis of her (Dr. Emelia) being one of two siblings chosen by their family in 1998 when their mother died to apply for Letters of Administration for which Lawyer Afrifa represented them (Emelia Timpo and Nana Apreh Ackah) and their application granted by the count.

Dr. Emelia Timpo never hired the services of Kwesi  Afrifa in her personal capacity but that of the estate. Soon, you will get to understand why Lawyer Afrifa represented Nana Ackah against Dr. Emelia in court.

Count 2

That he, having previously acted as counsel for one Kodwo Ackah, the legal owner of property No, 19A in a Civil Proceedings to evict his tenant at the Ashanti New Town Court, Kumasi, [subsequently 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.

The fact on Count 2: It was not Kodwo Ackah that employed the services of Lawyer Afrifa in 1997 to evict the tenant in flat at 18A Suame-Tarkwua. It was Agnes Turkson (their mother) and that is how the relationship between Lawyer Afrifa and the Ackah family all started. Lawyer Afrifa rather represented Kodwo Ackah and his younger brother Nana Omiano in court when they were arrested by the police in early 1998 for inducing the tenant in the house to quit and damaging the tenant’s property in the process.

Why the legal tussle among the siblings that has led to Lawyer Afrifa’s ban:

When their mother, Agnes Turkson died In July 1998, leaving behind her estate, Nana Apreh Ackah and his sister Emelia Timpo were chosen by their family to apply for Letters of Administration and they engaged Lawyer Kwesi Afrifa to file the application in court for them.

The first born, Kodwo Ackah, filed a Caveat claiming ownership of a house at Suame, Kumasi which was acquired by their deceased mother when he – Kodwo Ackah was 13 years but the title deed of which bore his name. The Caveat was dismissed and the Letters of Administration granted the two siblings of the said Kodwo Ackah.

The three other siblings (Nana Ackah, Dr. Emelia and One deceased, Nana Omiano) protested saying he (Kodwo) was even a minor at the time their mother built that house so he cannot claim ownership.

The claim of ownership by Kodwo Ackah was fiercely resisted by Emelia Timpo in an Affidavit filed in the High Court, Kumasi.

Kodwo Ackah then issued a writ against the two siblings who are the Administrators of the Estate of Agnes Turkson their mother and were both represented in court by Lawyer Afrifa but Kodwo eventually lost the case. The case stretched till somewhere 2012.

Along the way, Emelia Timpo appointed a different lawyer to represent her while Nana Apreh Ackah stuck to Lawyer Afrifa as his solicitor.

In 2014, thus 16 long years later, Emelia Timpo connived with Kodwo Ackah (who had litigated with the administrators of the estate) to sell two properties forming part of the estate without the knowledge of Nana Apreh Ackah (the second administrator).

Nana Apreh Ackah only got to know of the sale when Emelia Timpo sent him an email after the sale of the two properties had been concluded.

Nana Apreh Ackah ordinarily resident in the US, then instructed Lawyer Afrifa to set aside the illegal sale of the two properties. Accordingly, Lawyer Afrifa brought an action against Kodwo Ackah, Emelia Timpo and the company called Links Procurement & Development Ltd. which was said to have bought the two properties.

Before the High Court, Kumasi presided over by Justice P.K. Richardson, the point was raised that Lawyer Afrifa cannot represent Nana Apreh Ackah against Emelia and Kodwo on the basis that he had previously in 1998 represented the Estate of Agnes Turkson and as the two properties which had been sold to Links Procurement formed part of the Estate of Agnes.

The High Court dismissed the objection leading to an Appeal by Emelia Timpo which Appeal is pending before Court of Appeal till today and has not been adjudicated.

Because of the pending Appeal, Emelia Timpo filed a Stay of Proceedings of the suit against her, Kodwo Ackah and Links Procurement which Application was granted by the Court of Appeal.

Significantly, the panel of three judges who granted the Stay of Proceedings included Justice Irene Charity Danquah who also became a member of the panel which has imposed the 4year ban on Lawyer Afrifa.

The Complaints that were filed at the GLC against Lawyer Afrifa (between late 2014 and early 2015)

Inspite of the above, the grant of Stay of Proceedings, Emelia Timpo true to her alleged threat to teach Lawyer Afrifa a lesson, allegedly used her link to a very prominent member of the GLC to lodge a complaint of conflict of interest against Lawyer Afrifa.

Emelia Timpo then allegedly got the other sibling (Kodwo Ackah) who both engaged in the illegal sales of the two houses to file a separate complaint to bolster her concocted case against Lawyer Afrifa.

The General Legal Council hearing:

At the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC, one Dr. Fiadjoe who taught one of the members of the Disciplinary Committee at University of Ghana, was inexplicably allowed into the hearing saying he was only providing moral support to the Timpos who have been his lifelong friends.

On the 27th of July, 2017, which is the 10th seating of the the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC, Justice Annin Yeboah who was not one of the three panel members as mysteriously added, sat in the proceedings, fully participated in same leading to the imposition of the 4year ban/suspension/striking off from the roll of lawyers in Ghana on Lawyer Afrifa.

How the General Legal Council found Lawyer Afrifa guilty of conflict of interest:

While the case is ongoing in the court, Dr. Emelia filed a complaint at the General Legal Council that Lawyer Afrifa represented the Administrators of the Estate which she is a member in 1998. Now, Lawyer Afrifa is representing his brother (Nana Ackah – the second estate administrator) against her in Court for illegally selling two houses which forms part of the estate – You know what, this is the Count 1 of Conflict of Interest the GLC upheld – Lawyer Afrifa is therefore sentenced to 2years.

At the same time,  Kodwo filed a complaint that, Lawyer Afrifa was one his lawyer (you remember the 1998 case, when he – Kodwo and Nana Omiano was arrested and Lawyer Afrifa represented them in court) and now being a lawyer for his brother against him in Court for illegally selling two houses which forms part of the estate – You know what; this is the Count 2 of Conflict of Interest the GLC upheld – Lawyer Afrifa, you are therefore sentenced to 2years.

On these two counts, the GLC use the sword of its deification of justice to ban Lawyer Afrifa was for 4 years,

What if the position of the law on lawyer representing client at one time and representing against them in another time?:

The position of the law if very clear and simple on this matter that a lawyer can represent a client at one time and represent another person at a another time against the first client.

See:> LITTLE v KINGSWOOD COLLLERIES Co. (1882) 20 Ch.D. 733; GRISSELL v PETO (1832) 131 E.R. 514 and ROBINSON v MULLLET (1817) 146 E.R. 488 applied.’

HALSBURY’S LAW OF ENGLAND, 4th Edition re-issue Vol. 44 (1) page 123 paragraph 150 states that:

“… there is, however, no general rule prohibiting a solicitor who has acted in a particular matter for one of the parties from acting subsequently in the same matter for the opposite party…..”

So which rule or law did the General Legal Council apply in the case and why?

This is what Awake Investigates’ Efo Korsi Senyo is digging further to uncover.

The General Legal Council, its composition and role in administering of justice in Ghana:

The General Legal Council is the main regulatory body for the conduct and administration of legal education and profession in Ghana.  By its setup, the council is empowered and authorized to determine the policy and focus of legal education and training as well as the regulation of professional legal practice and ancillary matters.

The serving Chief Justice is the Chairperson of the Council, and the Judicial Secretary is its Secretary together with other appointed members including the three senior most Supreme Court Justices, the Attorney-General and her nominee, the President, Vice and Secretary of the Ghana Bar Association and the Ashanti Regional Bar President.

The membership of the Council reflects a balance between academics, legal practitioners and judges which represents the various facets of legal education, training and practice.

Source: AwakeAfrica.com | Efo Korsi Senyo | senyo@awakeafrica.com

About Efo Korsi Senyo

Efo Korsi Senyo has over 4 years experience working as investigative journalist with Awake Africa. He is the Head of Awake Investigates. Connect with him via senyo@awakeafrica.com or WhatsApp: +233249155003

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