- No Record of Court Appearance
- Gondwe, Chisakamire to Face Law Society Disciplinary Committee
- Lawyer, Firm Taken Off the Case
High Court Judge Dorothy nyaKaunda Kamanga has ruled that lawyer representing bribery suspect business magnet Thomson Mpinganjira and the Magistrate who quashed a warrant of arrest obtained by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) under suspicious circumstances be sanctioned for professional misconduct.
Making an order on the review of the lower court’s decision, Judge Kamanga said the lawyer Lusungu Gondwe and Principal Resident Magistrate Benedictus Chitsakamire acted unethically and should both face disciplinary action.
She has since re-activated the initial ACB warrant of arrest.
In her written decision, the judge observes that the two acted outside the set law and procedures with Gondwe breaching Section 89 (1) (c) of the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act while Chitsakamire contravening clause 2 (2) of the General Code of Conduct (Eleventh Schedule).
“The application and proceedings before the magistrate were replete with irregularities and that the Magistrate being a creature of statute he lacked jurisdiction to preside over the assumed hearing for the application in terms of section 96 (3) of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence , thereby rendering the proceedings a nullity,” reads the ruling by Judge Kamanga.
Apparently, Judge Kamanga also observed that there was no record to suggest that Gondwe or any lawyer appeared before the magistrate to make an application.
“[C]ounsel Gondwe and the legal firm of Messrs Ritz Attorneys at Law acted improperly and misconducted themselves in the discharge of their professional legal duties in the manner they prepared and handled the application in this criminal matter, in that they ill-advised their client and his relations and misled the said magistrate with regard to the applicable law,” further reads the decision.
The lawyer and law firm have since been taken off the case.
The FDH boss was arrested last week on suspicion that he allegedly plotted to offer bribes to five judges presiding over the presidential elections case to rule in favor of an unnamed candidate.
However, about 12 hours after arrest, Mpinganjira was released – through a court order quashing the arrest warrant issued at around midnight on 22 January, 2020.
Meanwhile, the ACB has hinted more arrests are imminent. In particular, one official from an arm of the government is expected to be next in the line of incarceration.
At the time of writing, Mpinganjira was in police custody at Blantyre Police Station.