Lawyers in Malawi cannot stand on any higher moral ground than politicians

It is now official; lawyers in Malawi are among the most corrupt human ‘species’. The recent leaked conversation on the Malawi Law Society (MLS) ‘WhatsApp’ forum, where some prominent lawyers are trading serious accusations of corruption, has exposed a conspicuous lack of personal discipline and professional ethics among members of the legal fraternity in Malawi.

The accusations, and counter-accusations, of corruption, bribery and ‘Judge shopping’ by especially senior lawyers, John Gift Mwakhwawa and David Kanyenda, have confirmed the long-held fears that lawyers in Malawi cannot stand on any higher moral ground than politicians, who are often the punching bag with regard to corruption, theft and abuse of public resources.

It is no surprise therefore that in Malawi, lawyers lead obscenely luxurious lives. They drive around in expensive Porsche vehicles and maintain a horde of concubines. A good number of the so-called senior lawyers own plum mansions in exclusive city suburbs, all because of ill-gotten money.

Indeed, some of them fly business class and they can afford expensive holidays in South Africa and overseas. They are simply stinking rich.

According to one bank source, some of the lawyers in Malawi are not millionaires; they are, in fact, billionaires. Such men and women ‘in robs and wigs’ would laugh at the thought of students failing to pay university education fees. It is agonizingly absurd!

Indeed, the kind of luxurious lifestyle among many lawyers in Malawi point to the fact that the crooked lawyer syndrome has taken root amongst them. Apart from bribe taking and judge shopping, some lawyers swindle clients of their ‘claimed’ money. Such lawyers receive money on behalf of their clients, within the framework of the law but they deliberately choose to play hide-and-seek with the clients when it comes to remitting such money.

Recently, there have been media reports that have named ‘and shamed’ some prominent lawyers for various unprofessional conduct. Government authorities and MLS have confirmed such various cases of misconduct, some seriously criminal, and promised either prosecution or suspension of such lawyers but nothing conclusive has happened so far.

The perception that lawyers, law firms and judicial officers are involved in corruption has become relatively widespread in Malawi. But now that Malawians have now heard it from the horses’ mouths, that lawyers connive with each other and judicial officers, including magistrates and High Court judges, to defeat the course of justice, it is time for real action against such unethical conduct.

It is high time that errant lawyers are sternly disciplined in order to save the oldest profession from plunging into further disrepute in Malawi.

The revelations on the MLS WhatsApp are as revealing as they are alarming. It is therefore imperative that thorough inquiry needs to be instituted, as a matter of urgency, into the serious allegations contained in that conversation.

Relevant authorities need to seriously address worrying integrity issues related to lawyers, law firms and judicial officers to curtail the mafia-like corruption that seemingly flourishes amongst them.

Corruption among lawyers and judicial officers has dangerous bearing on social and economic development of this nation because it simply promotes injustice. Injustice is a dangerous enemy of democracy and the rule of law.

According to Transparency International (TI), the legal profession plays an important role that is fundamental to any democracy. The right to legal counsel and representation is enshrined and protected by international law. Like all individuals and professionals, it is obvious that lawyers should not engage in corrupt activities. However, as defenders of justice, their involvement in corruption can be particularly consequential.

Under its current disciplinary framework, the Malawi Law Society has the mandate to warn or reprimand, impose a fine or call upon the courts to suspend or disbar a lawyer. This must be seen to be happening.

It is unfair to point the accusing finger on politicians only when lawyers and, of course other ‘white-collar’ professionals, also indulge in systematic corruption and get obscenely rich at the expense of poor and desperate clients.

But as Nyasa Times we will do our part as watchdog of the society  to expose the rot in corridors of justice ; from judge shopping to  corruption to defeat justice, we are following leads and expect  Katyusha rockests soon.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

In fact corruption culture is so entrenched in the psyche of Malawians that it has now been normalised. Corruption is everywhere, from the church, media, CSOs, government depts, parastatals, private sector and within political parties. It is so bad that the perpetrators are not even aware that they’re committing crime. Malawians were never criminals in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. Malawi was an example of a honest nation with well behaved people…..people with ethics and morality (at least most of the Malawians). I don’t know what happened but political leaders became openly unruly and brought with them seasoned criminals into… Read more »

Charlie Hebdo
Guest
Charlie Hebdo

The legal profession has no chance of integrity in the country especially when you consider a leader, himself a lawyer who swore to protect the constitution is in the forefront engaging in corrupt behaviours. If it is not the wife stealing from NAC through her charity it is the husband. Take care, the thieving couple on the loose.

Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
Guest
Hlabezulu Ngonoonda

Thanks #DzukaniAmalawi. In fact delegates that gathered at the then Kwacha International Conference Centre in Blantyre to work on the 1994 Constitution of Malawi are to blame for the current mess. They inserted in that supreme law of the country a proviso allowing a person with a criminal record to be a president of the country. By doing so, they opened a conduit through which a criminal character would at the very beginning introduce corruption to a wide scale and leave a precedent for others to follow. Now, Malawi is reaping from what the convict sowed during the long tenure… Read more »

Panganani
Guest

What we are suffering from as a country started with TIKUFUNA WAKUBA YEMWEYO! in 1994.Look at what is has done to our beautiful country. All of us are now SWORN thieves-Led by the PRINCE OF THIEVES

Panganani
Guest

The Chief Justice, if he has any integrity should immediately institute an independent enquiry into the matter and also a life style audit concurrently. The purpose of the audit and investigation is to isolate all judges that have received bribes and get them fired forthwith even if temporarily we don’t have judges, that will be fine. We can use judges from Zambia or Zimbabwe till we have a crop we can trust. Personally, I was told that one SC, has been at this -judge shopping and buying them off for a long time. Nigeria and Ghana just did this exercise… Read more »

Makanda Ntchembere
Guest
Makanda Ntchembere

Malawi is not wrotten opps kikikiki slip of the fingure.

Chilungamo
Guest
Chilungamo

Stop this FAKE generalisation.
Not all politicians or lawyers are crooked/ thieves. Kanyenda, like his colleagues in DPP, is a documented corrupt lawyer/ politicians.
Mbava zimatero pongofuna kuonetsa kuti palibe wolungama. It is a “defensive mechanism” to feel better psychologically and/or trivialise the whole scandal as NOTHING ‘aliyense amapanga’. Olo HULE lapabara limanena kuti ‘mzimayi aliyense amapanga chigololo’.
SHAME on THIEVES!!!

Mbuna
Guest
Mbuna

That’s why some of us keep saying it is not ONLY political leadership that is rotten but the whole of our country – its institutions and processes – and anyone claiming that they are transformational leader when they have no aorta of the fundamentals, are just lying. The measure of this is in the rotten calibre of leaders in government, politics, CSO leaders and private sector who are all corrupt and act with impunity. Lawyers, judges and the police are very corrupt. CSOs who keep criticising government are the most fraudulent people in our country. They are getting rich every… Read more »

Khima
Guest
Khima

Nkhani ndiyokuti mdziko muno takumana akuba okha okha..politicians, lawyers, doctors ( ambiri akupanga ma cartel osowesa mankhwala, kupanga private jobs at government facilities, Engineers (involved in bogus projects, substandard corrupt carteled work), Accountants ( facilitating fraud), Bankers ( facilitating fraud) everyone..moral decay…

Amdala bambo
Guest
Amdala bambo

YOWELI 3 : 14 MUKAFA MULI MUZIMENEZO MALOYA INU SIMUKALUMPHA PA CHIGWA CHOTSILIZIRA MILANDU. YAMBANI BWINO KANTHAWI KAMENE MWASALA NAKOKA MUSANATSIKIRE KULI CHETE

chimanga Chaponda
Guest

Who watches the watchman? Malawi is rotten to the core

Sikusinja
Guest
Sikusinja

Problem is since we have judges with no morals that can be paid off, how do you expect the lawyers in private sector to be of high moral standing when the people they are supposed to fear are money hungry. Lawyers now have to spend more time soliciting cash to pay judges or pay each other off than time they spend preparing arguments.

Cognitive DIssonance Theory
Guest
Cognitive DIssonance Theory

What about the journalist? should they stand on the moral higher ground writing comments about other professionals but when one of their own is involved in a scandal they keep quiet? While it is true, that there are bad people in every profession it is wrong to say lawyers in Malawi, police, politicians, clergy. etc cannot stand on a morally higher ground. We know there are good lawyers, good politicians, good journalists, etc. What is important is to NAME AND SHAME those who are bad apples. It is wrong to paint a bad picture of all lawyers in Malawi because… Read more »

Kibaki
Guest
Kibaki

Billionaires mpaka na. Amayo ine!!!

More From Nyasatimes