BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
HARARE lawyer Lawman Chimuriwo has been deregistered after he was found guilty of misappropriating trust funds amounting to US$100 000.
Chimuriwo was last week found guilty of unethical conduct by a tribunal chaired by High Court judge Justice Felistus
He then went on to file his mitigation, which according to the court, lacked weight.
“In the result, it is accordingly ordered that the respondent’s name be deleted from the Register of Legal Practitioners, Public Notaries and Conveyancers. The respondent be, and is hereby ordered to pay all the expenses incurred by the applicant in connection with these proceedings,” the tribunal ruled.
“The respondent failed to safeguard client’s funds. Such failure warrants the respondent deregistration. What we find to be highly aggravating is that the complaints were presented on behalf of the Mafukidzes (Kenias and Farai) and CBZ by two of the respondent’s peers. The tone of the complainants reflects the seriousness of the transgressions and the repugnance with which the other member of the profession viewed the respondent’s conduct,” the ruling read.
“The imposition of a fine or suspension of the respondent for a period would in our view not instil confidence of the public in the administration of justice or safeguard the collective interest of the profession in upholding the standard of the legal profession in view of our finding that the respondent misappropriated trust funds.”
Chatukuta said the aggravating factors in this case outweighed Chimuriwo’s mitigation.
Chimuriwo has been in practice since 2012 when he opened Lawman Chimuriwo Attorneys soon after he registered as a lawyer.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe successfully applied that he be found guilty of unlawful conduct following a complaint brought forward by Kenias and Farai Mafukidze.
It was alleged Chimuriwo contravened the Legal Practitioners Act after withholding payment of trust money to the client without lawful cause.
He also failed to promptly pay the trust money upon demand and within a reasonable time.
Chimuriwo failed to properly keep the books of accounts and did not issue a receipt for
US$250 000 that was received in the trust account.