By Auxilia Katongomara
The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has de–registered prominent Bulawayo lawyer Mr James Mutsauki and two others with immediate effect.
Mr Mutsauki as well as a former senior Bulawayo regional prosecutor, Mr Admire Chikwayi and a Harare lawyer, Mr Thomas Masendeke, were de-registered by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (LDPT) on September 28.
In a statement, LSZ executive secretary Mr Edward Mapara said the trio had ceased to be registered lawyers with immediate effect.
“Until such a time that they are re-registered the above persons no longer have rights and privileges of registered lawyers. The Law Society would like to advise the public to desist from dealing with all non-registered lawyers.
The Law Society will not be responsible for any loss or prejudice arising out of the conduct of de-registered lawyers as these no longer fall under its jurisdiction,” said Mr Mapara.
He urged members of the public to periodically check updated lists of de-registered members from the Law Society website.
In March this year, Mr Mutsauki, whose law firm had been placed under curatorship over alleged fraud involving more than $30 000, applied to the LSZ to be deregistered.
The legal profession’s regulatory body detected alleged abuse of funds at the law firm in 2016.
The LSZ then filed an urgent chamber application seeking an order to have his law firm placed under curatorship for defrauding clients.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese granted the order suspending Mr Mutsauki from practising as a lawyer for six weeks and ordered the LSZ to appoint its deputy executive secretary, Mr Wilbert Mandinde, as curator pending investigations into the alleged fraud. The judge also ordered the LSZ to immediately take control of James Mutsauki Attorneys’ trust accounts and administer them.
The other deregistered Bulawayo lawyer Mr Chikwayi, who is a former Bulawayo regional prosecutor, once served an 18 month jail sentence for soliciting a $300 bribe from a complainant in a fraud case.
In November 2014, the complainant Mr Nicholas Khawulani Masuku reported at the Criminal Investigating Department (CID) Homicide Section in Bulawayo that Chikwayi had solicited for a $300 bribe from him so that his pending fraud case at the Tredgold magistrate’s courts could be set down for trial.
Mr Chikwayi fell into a trap set for him as he received the $300 from Mr Masuku. As soon as Mr Chikwayi had taken the money, detectives entered and identified themselves before requesting to see the money he had received.
Chikwayi reportedly produced the trap notes which were under his phone on his desk leading to his arrest. The Chronicle