Lawyer Afrifa suspended for professional misconduct

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Mr Kwasi Afrifa

A legal practitioner, Mr Kwasi Afrifa, has been suspended for four years by the General Legal Council (GLC) for professional misconduct.

His suspension, according to a statement published on the GLC’s website, started on July 27, 2017.

“The licence of Lawyer Kwasi Afrifa to practise for the next four (4) years is hereby withdrawn forthwith,” the statement, signed by the Judicial Secretary and Secretary to the GLC, Mr Justice Alex Poku-Acheampong and seen by Graphic Online, said.

Lawyer Afrifa was suspended after 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.

According to the GLC, “during the period of suspension, Mr Afrifa shall not hold himself out as a Legal Practitioner or attend Chambers, or render, or purport to render any professional legal services to the public for a fee”.

First offence

In the first instance, Mr Afrifa, according to the GLC, 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,” it said.

Second offence

With regard to the second offence, the GLC explained 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.

Third offence

The GLC also said 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.

Rule 5 (10) states that “a lawyer shall at the time of retainer disclose to the client all the circumstances of his relationship to the parties and his interest in or connection with the controversy, if any, which might influence the client in selection of counsel. He shall avoid representing conflicting interests”.

Rule 9 (4) also states that “any deliberate deception of the court on the part of a lawyer is a professional misconduct. Equally, a lawyer is guilty of such misconduct if he knowingly permits a client to attempt to deceive the court’’.

Other suspension

Lawyer Afrifa’s suspension comes barely a month after Lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu was suspended for overcharging a client and also violating the legal profession’s code of conduct rule, which enjoins lawyers not to advertise their services.

Lawyer Sosu, has, however, appealed against his suspension at the Court of Appeal.

On July 26, 2017, the Court of Appeal, presided over by a single justice, Mr Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, threw out Mr Sosu’s application for a stay of his suspension until the final determination of the appeal.

According to the court, its jurisdiction was not properly invoked in the application by the suspended lawyer.