BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
Kwekwe-based lawyer James Magodora has been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) after he acted on behalf of evictees without their consent.
Magodora of Magodora and Company, filed responses in court on behalf of the several residents facing eviction from a property in Sabonabona in Kwekwe without their knowledge.
The residents discovered that Magodora, a former magistrate, had filed on their behalf when they decided to engage the owner of the property, Balwearie Holdings.
One of the evictees, Kundai Anatolia Nyamukondiwa, then lodged a complaint with the LSZ, resulting in the matter being investigated.
According to a letter dated August 30, 2021 written by the LSZ executive secretary Edward Mapara, Magodora acted illegally by filing a response in court on behalf of the residents, acting on instruction of a third party.
When he filed the response, he did not even have his clients’ full names, according to the findings of the LSZ council.
“Council at its meeting held on August 5, 2021 considered the complaint against you and your responses,” Mapara said in the letter. “Council noted that by law 3 (36) of the legal practitioners code of Conduct SI 37 of 2018 was clear that it was an act of professional misconduct to act for a client based on instructions of their party unless satisfied that the person issuing such instructions had proper authority.
“It was the council’s view that no such authority was established in casu or same would have been furnished with your responses. As outlined by complainant , the repercussions of incorrectly representing a litigant were potentially dire. In council’s view, while the practical exigencies and challenges of representing a large and unsophisticated group are appreciated, a practitioner nevertheless ought to take the utmost care from the start that the litigant wants to be represented.”
LSZ is yet to deliver sentence on Magodora.
Magodora was last year arrested for fraud after he allegedly abused money deposited into his firm’s trust account by a client who wanted to buy a property in the city.