A Harare lawyer, Lawman Chimuriwo, has been deregistered after he was found guilty of misappropriating trust funds amounting to over US$100 000.
Chimuriwo had been in practice since 2012 when he opened Lawman Chimuriwo Attorneys soon after he registered as a lawyer.
He was found guilty of unethical conduct by a tribunal chaired by High Court judge, Justice Felistus Chatukuta two weeks ago.
The Law Society (LSZ) successfully applied 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 clients without lawful cause.
He also failed to promptly pay trust money due to sellers upon demand and within a reasonable time.
The tribunal found him guilty and ordered him to be deregistered. The bench said in its ruling:
It is accordingly ordered that the respondent’s name be deleted from the Register of Legal Practitioners, Notaries Public, and Conveyancers.
The respondent be and is hereby ordered to pay all the expenses incurred by the applicant in connection with these proceedings.
The respondent failed to safeguard client’s funds. Such failure warrants the respondent’s 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 complaints reflects the seriousness of the transgressions and the repugnance with which the other member of the profession viewed the respondent’s conduct.
The imposition of a fine or suspension of the respondent for a period would in our view not instill 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.