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US terminates Gbajabiamila’s law license over bar rules violation

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Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila

Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, has been terminated as a licensed lawyer of the State Bar of Georgia in the United States after his corruption and ethical lapses violated acceptable thresholds for members.

The Nigerian politician, who currently serves as the chief of staff to President Bola Tinubu, was ostracised from the prestigious body effective July 1, 2020.

He was found to have stolen money from a client and also failed to pay his membership fees.

Gbajabiamila’s newest struggle began when a client filed a theft grievance against him, according to Georgia Bar officials.

Gbajabiamila then ignored the bar and ceased paying his membership fees and other duties.

Attempts were made to contact Gbajabiamila at his Peachtree Road address in Atlanta, but he rebuffed them all.

Gbajabiamila was suspended for five years on July 2, 2015. On July 1, 2020, the suspension was finally approved as a permanent termination of his membership.

At the time of his violations in the United States, the Chief of Staff, who was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia on June 29, 2001, was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“He can no longer practice law in the state of Georgia,” an official told newsmen. “He’s done,” he added.

On February 26, 2007, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously approved Gbajabiamila’s suspension for 36 months after he admitted stealing $25,000 from a client. He was restored after serving his term, only to commit another infringement, which resulted in the termination of his license.

The Chief of Staff to the president 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,” the court said at the time.

Gbajabiamila, who had already been a federal lawmaker for nearly four years before the trial, gave the money back in 2006, a year before the verdict, in exchange for a reduced sentence, including disbarment.

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