KADOMA lawyers Jarvis Palframan have been ordered to reimburse Kambudzi Nine Mine $320 000 which the miners lost to a con artist in a botched property sale which was handled by the lawyers.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Kambudzi Nine Mine bought a commercial building belonging to Laxman Investments Company in Kadoma through Jarvis Palframan. However, the lawyers reportedly paid the money to a conman who then disappeared with the cash.
Lawyer Valentine Mutatu, representing the mine, then demanded that respondents Douglas Palframan, Stephen Murambatsvina and Joile Obert, who acted negligently, should pay back the cash.
The respondents had told Kambudzi Nine Mine that Laxman Investments Company had given Obert power of attorney to sell and receive money for Stand 32 Gatooma Township.
Kambudzi Nine Mine then purchased the building through the lawyers and paid the money to Obert who then prepared an agreement of sale on behalf of the law firm and Laxman Investments.
The money was then paid to an unnamed con trickster who had allegedly made Jarvis Palframan believe he was a representative of Laxman Investments.
Jarvis Palframan denied liability, saying Obert, who received the money from Kambudzi Nine Mine, was not an employee of the company although he has an office at the premises of the law firm.
They further denied acting negligently.
In a judgment delivered on February 18, High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, however, dismissed the application by Jarvis Palframan and agreed with Mutatu who said his client only entered into the deal because of the comfort provided by the law firm.
“That by virtue of their special position as providers of legal services it was reasonably foreseeable that the plaintiff would rely on their representation to decide to enter into the sale agreement and to pay $320 000,” reads the judgment.
“It was averred that the respondents as providers of professional legal services, owed a duty to take responsible care that their representation was true and reliable. They, however, wrongfully breached that duty of care in that their representation turned out to be a negligent representation which was incorrect and false because the true owner never mandated them as alleged.”
Justice Mathonsi had no kind words for Jarvis Palframan.
“Courts of law are not robots programmed to accept only what legal practitioners feed them with. The business of judgeship would have been tedious if judges were to turn a blind eye on the obvious because it was convenient for counsel to do so,” he said.
Mathonsi ordered the three respondents to pay back the $320 000 and also to pay the costs of the suit.
“The respondents shall pay applicant the sum of $320 000 being recompense for financial loss suffered by the plaintiff.”