Months into investigations and wrangling on whether to name lawyers who were found guilty over various alleged disciplinary excesses, including embezzlement, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) and the Ministry of Justice have finally made the move.
Eight lawyers, previously unidentified but whom the MLS Disciplinary Committee recommended for various punitive measures, yesterday woke up with their names published in newspapers as required by law and named for a myriad of issues.
Lawyers Patron Ndhlovu and Kajani Banda have been named as those facing disbarment and prosecution while Lusungu Gondwe faces suspension and prosecution.
Edwin Banda has to be suspended and pay back money to a client he allegedly embezzled. Mapemphero Manda and Lucious Kwakwala, Golden Mwangulube and Felix Mipande will face reprimands.
Ndhlovu faces multiple counts of receiving money on behalf of unnamed clients but allegedly failing to remit the the same.
Gondwe is also alleged to have received a certain amount of money but failed to remit some of it. He has subsequently remitted the money but the committee still recommended prosecution and suspension.
Details about Manda’s case are sketchy, with the notice only saying he “conducted himself in a fraudulent and improper manner,” hence the call for his reprimand while Banda also allegedly received unspecified amounts of money from a client, which he did not remit.
Mwangulube allegedly charged “exorbitant legal fees” while Mipande is said to have received money from a client, failed to disclose the money and charged the client exorbitant fees, allegedly.
MLS president Khumbo Soko referred the matter to Solicitor General Janet Banda who signed the public notice.
“It is the issue of Ministry of Justice and the Solicitor General. We cannot make any comment,” said Soko.
Banda, in an interview said some of the cases that require prosecution have already started being heard in court. “I am aware that some of the matters are in court.
Once the recommendations are made to the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, those offices either litigate or prosecute in line with the recommendations,” said Banda.
The public notice is dated September 30 2016 around the same period our sister paper Nation on Sunday revealed the Attorney General (AG) had cracked the whip on the eight lawyers now facing legal action following the AG’s commencement of disbarment procedures with the Chief Justice.
Banda yesterday confirmed that the publication of the notice follows her refusal to chair further meetings of the disciplinary committee to force the publication of the notice.
“Previous Executive Committee of MLS was protective of errant lawyers as not to comply with the rules of procedure of the Disciplinary Committee. I was therefore no longer available to continue with the work of the DC since it appeared our objectives were at cross purposes,” said Banda