Citizens for Transformation (CFT) – People Power Movement has laid a formal complaint to the Legal Practice Council (LPC) of South Africa against the Mboweni Maluleke Incorporated Attorneys over the irregular contract with Malawi’s Electoral Commission (MEC).
According to CFT statement signed by communications officer Negracious Al-Majjiduh Justin, the complaint followed the legal firm’s exorbitant legal fees envisaged to be against tariff regulations in the industry.
MEC paid 50 percent of the total amount.
The cost of the legal services was pegged at US$788 000 which raised controversy at a time when the Malawi government is struggling to find money to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda rejected an application by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to allow two South African lawyers to participate in the country’s disputed presidential elections case.
The application was thrown out citing the lawyers failure to be present during the application
Lawyers Dumisa Ntsebeza and Elizabeth Baloyi-Mere were hired by the electoral body to represent it in the case, amid protest from the country’s lawyers and opposition parties.
CFT has demanded that the LPC should summon Maluleke Inc to render a detailed Statement of Account for the work done by them in the MEC appeal Case, as required by Rule 35.11 of the Rules for Legal Practitioners in South Africa.
“The CFT has further demanded that upon the LPC’s receipt of the Statement of Account from Maluleke Incorporated Attorneys, it must assist with the taxation (assessment) of same to determine if the fees were commensurate with the work done under the prescribed tariff,” reads part of the statement
The Legal Practice Council is a national, statutory body established in terms of section 4 of the Legal Practice Act, No 28 of 2014. The Legal Practice Council and its Provincial Councils regulate the affairs of and exercise jurisdiction over all legal practitioners (attorneys and advocates) and candidate legal practitioners.
Among others, the objects of the Legal Practice Council as determined in Section 5 of the Legal Practice Act are to facilitate the realisation of the goal of a transformed and restructured legal profession that is accountable, efficient and independent; and ensure that fees charged by legal practitioners for legal services rendered are reasonable and promote access to legal services, thereby enhancing access to justice.