Former Justice minister Fahad Assan risks being suspended from practising as a lawyer over allegations that he swindled a client K10.6 million.
Nyasa Times has seen court documents and letters sent to Malawi Law Society where businessman Emmanuel Shaba is claiming that Assani, a private legal practice, swindled him the money after he sold his property.
According to letters to Ministry of Justice and to Law Society – a regulatory body of all law practitioners in the country -Shaba in July 2014 sold his property in Lilongwe’s Area 12 Township to a Mr Chapuma for the sum of K40,000,000 which he was to be paid through Assani as his lawyer.
By end of July 2014, Assani only remitted to Shaba part of the money “leaving a balance of K10,600,000.00 unpaid.”
Shaba claims that despite several reminders, Assani has refused or neglected to pay him the said sum of K10,600,00.
Assani “was quite aware” that Shaba was in the business of buying houses and renovating them before selling them, according to claims of summons.
He argues that by withholding his payment, Shaba suffered reduced capital for his business activities.
As a result, Shaba claims to have suffered loss and damage in term of loss of interest had the money been invested in a bank.
He claims loss of interest at the rate of 30% on K10,600,000 to amount to K6,360,000.00
Assani’s embezzlement allegations comes hot on the heals of Malawi Law Society expressing worry over the increase of unethical conduct reports among its members.
MLS secretary general Khumbo Soko says such kind of reports spoil the image of law practitioners and they make people to lose trust of all legal practitioners.
He said currently the MLS disciplinary committee is handling eight cases of misconduct offenses.
“Our work or career needs public trust and honest, so such kind of behavior compromises the profession,” said Soko.
Solicitor General (SG) and Secretary for Justice Janet Banda, who chairs the MLS disciplinary committee by virtue of being SG, said they recommended that the eight rotten apples in the legal profession be suspended, disbarred or prosecuted.
Banda said chief among the reasons most lawyers faced the hearings include embezzlement of funds for clients.
The SG said she signed a notice for publication in the press of the list of lawyers in September who were found with a case to answer by the disciplinary committee “to warn the public about taking legal matters to these lawyers who are considered hazardous and also to deter would be offenders [lawyers].”
Law Society has also been recommending to Attornery General for the prosecution of lawyers whose actions do amount to criminal activity.
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