High Court judge John Katsala has slammed two lawyers, Shepher Mumba and Chimwemwe Kalua, for forging documents that were presented in court by NBS Bank as part of evidence in a sale of land which was used as collateral for loans.
The case has already attracted police investigation on the two lawyers as confirmed by national police spokesperson Davie Chingwalu.
In his ruling dated August 3 2012, Katsala observed that the conduct of Mumba and Kalua in court case number two of 2012 at the commercial division was unethical and would put the legal profession into disrepute.
According to the ruling, documents by the second defendant, NBS Bank Limited, were said to have been signed by the plaintiff, Fanny Kandoje Chiunda in the presence of Mumba and that Chiunda was identified by Kalua.
However, Chiunda left for the United States of America on November 15 2003 and has never returned.
Observes Katsala: â€œLet me say briefly what appears to be the role played by lawyers in the name of Shepher Mumba and Chimwemwe Mahekea Kalua in the events that led to the present proceedings. Both powers of attorney show that they were prepared by a firm of lawyers known as Messrs Golden and Law and that they were signed by Fanny Kandoje Chiunda in the presence of Shepher Mumba on January 3 2005 and November 4 2008.
â€œIn both powers of attorney, Shepher Mumba certifies that Fanny Kandoje Chiunda signed the powers of attorney in his presence and that the said Fanny Kandoje Chiunda was identified by Chimwemwe Mahekea Kalua who is personally known to him.
â€œThe evidence before me shows that Fanny Kandoje Chiunda left for the United States of America on November 15 2003 and has never returned to Malawi. One, therefore, wonders who is this person that Chimwemwe Mahekea Kalua identified to Shepher Mumba as being Fanny Kandoje Chiunda.â€
The judge further says: â€œBut I am informed that this matter is the subject of a police investigation, as such, I cannot say more than this. Suffice to say that notaries work should be taken seriously as it has far-reaching effects.â€
The judge cautions that notaries public should exercise due care and diligence when performing their duties and that they should work towards ensuring that the trust and confidence reposed in them by the public the world over is not abused.
â€œLawyers must always work hard to uphold the ethics of the legal profession and avoid conduct that would bring the profession into disrepute. Costs of the proceedings are for the plaintiff,â€ concludes the judge.
When asked to explain their side of the story, Kalua said he was not aware of the issue and ruling. Mumba was not available.
Details of the case are that Chiunda obtained title to a piece of land CSS/15/9 being title number Chilomoni 5/89 in Blantyre in 2003. Chiunda left on November 15 of the same year for the USA.
On January 26 2012, NBS Bank Limited published an advertisement to sell the land by tender.