Lawyer Chidzonde accused of swindling as Malawi Govt probes Kasambara over K30m

A   private lawyer Mathews Chidzonde was arrested  this week for swindling client’s money, Police said as Malawi Government said it is investigating former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara for legal fees  ‘swindle’ to various individuals when he doubled as Attorney General.

Police said Chidzonde, the lawyer who obtained the ill-fated injunction leading to the July 20 demos, is being accused of swindling clients’ money and that they picked him for questioning.

A police spokeswoman told Nyasa Times “it appears that he has embezzled clients’ money,” adding that the law enforcers are carrying “in-depth probe”.

There have been several reported cases of lawyers not passing on to clients the compensation money they won for them in court.

Chidzonde: Accused of swindle

Kasambara: It’s childish probe

In another matter involving a lawyer, Minister of Justice Fahad Assani has said government is investigating lawyer Kasambara SC for K30 million (US$71 770) which the ministry of justice allegedly paid to Ralph and Arnolds, a legal firm which Kasambara  was formerly a partner, in claims for fees on a case Assani says never took off in court.

“We are compiling the awards made in the last two years. One of the things we want to understand in the investigation for some of these pay-outs is whether it was worth paying them at that time to people who were suing government.

“We have found a lot of cases which government could have defended but it did not defend and a lot of amounts were paid,” said Assani as quoted by Weekend Nation.

“Currently, we have come across a payment of K30 million made in September last year to Ralph and Arnolds who were representing HRCC [Human Rights Consultative Committee] and nine others in their challenge against the passing of the injunctions law.

“There was an application for judicial review on that case and the High Court referred the matter to the Constitutional Court where the case never took off. The K30 million was paid as claims of legal fees on this case which never took off because the Constitutional Court did not handle the matter.

“We are at pains to understand why this payment was made. This is a discovery that has startled us,” said Assani.

However Kasambara told the weekly that the investigation would only embarrass President Joyce Banda and her government.

Kasambara accused the Ministry of Justice of “witch-hunting.”

“I never handled any matter to do with Ralph and Arnolds. There was an agreement at the Ministry of Justice that any matter to do with Ralph and Arnolds would be handled by another officer and I refused to handle such matters to avoid the appearance of bias in the handling of those matters,” said Kasambara.

Ralph and Arnolds is now under Kasambara’s former protégé Wapona Kitta as former Justice Minister now owns Ralph Kasambara law firm now operating from Mzuzu.

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