General News of Fri, 9 May 20031

Three Lawyers sanctioned

Ghana’s General Legal Council has sanctioned three Lawyers for professional misconduct; suspending two from practising for a period and asking the third to refund money he collected from a client without rendering the service demanded. The Disciplinary Committee of the Council found the Lawyers: E.A. Quaye, Ray Kakrabah Quarshie and W.H Augustt guilty of professional misconduct.

This is an affirmation of Chief Justice Mr. Edward Kwame Wiredu's promise to the nation that the Council was soon to announce disciplinary measures against some Legal Practitioners, while calling 12 new Lawyers to the Bar about a week ago. Letters imposing the sanctions, signed by Mr. E.A. Owusu-Ansah, Secretary of the Council, have been sent to the affected Lawyers.

The letter to Mr. Quaye said among other things that the Council enquired into a complaint of professional misconduct brought against him by one Mr D.M. Odei-Birikorang for ill advising and causing him to sign an agreement to his detriment.

It said: "At its meeting held at the Conference Room of the Supreme Court Building on 29th April, 2003, the General Legal Council accepted the recommendation made by the Disciplinary Committee in respect of the above mentioned complaint and decided to suspend you from practising as a Lawyer in this country for a period of twelve months with effect from 29th April, 2003, for professional misconduct, in accordance with provisions of the Legal Profession Act, 1960, Act 32 and the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette) Rules, 1969, L.I. 613. You are accordingly prohibited from practising as a Lawyer in Ghana for the period specified above.

"In addition to the suspension, you shall pay costs of 10 million cedis to the complainant, Mr. D.M. Odei-Birikorang. "By copies of this letter all Judges/ Magistrates and Registrars are informed of your suspension."

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At the same meeting, the Council suspended Mr. Kakraba-Quarshie from practising for six months with effect from 29th April 2003 for professional misconduct in respect of a complaint made by one Miss Alice Bart-Plange.

The letter said: "Miss Bart-Plange's complaint is that while acting as Solicitor for her you took from TOTAL (GH) Limited, without her authority and knowledge, 42.75 million cedis being the cedi equivalent to 25,000 dollars for the estate of Stephanie Bart-Plange, mother of Miss Bart-Plange in respect of a petrol Filling Station at Ayalolo, Accra. You have refused or neglected to pay the money to her."

One Mr. Wisdom Hozame brought the complaint against Mr. Augustt. The Council said: "Mr. Hozame's complaint was that you took his brief in a motor accident case. The motor accident paralysed his son. You demanded and obtained from him deposit of 650,000 cedis. You did not settle his claim, with the Insurance Company neither did you refund his deposit to him. And worse still, you have refused to give his brief back to him."

The Council, therefore, ordered Mr. Augustt: "You should refund to the complainant, Mr Wisdom Hozame, 650,000 cedis you collected from him with interest at the current bank rate from 3rd April 1997 to the date of payment. "You should pay costs of 2 million cedis to the complainant. You should return to the complainant his brief and any other document in your possession. "You are requested to comply with the orders of the General Legal Council within a fortnight with effect from the date of this letter (May 6, 2003)."

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