Zanu PF central committee member and former Cabinet minister Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana has been convicted for unprofessional conduct by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) after he engaged “tracers” to identify indebted Chitungwiza residents’ properties, with a view to have them attached over non-payment of council debts.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Sometime in 2015, Mangwana is alleged to have engaged “tracers” to search and identify Chitungwiza ratepayers’ valuables, prompting the LSZ to file misconduct charges against him.
“Council noted that the notice from your firm (Mangwana and Partners, to the ratepayers) cannot be read with eyes shut. The letter speaks for itself no matter what you would want council to believe. Council further noted that it is unethical for a legal practitioner to assume an investigative role and go about searching and identifying people’s valuables. A legal practitioner cannot act in such a barbaric and streetwise manner,” LSZ general secretary Wilbert Mandinde wrote to Mangwana in a letter dated July 24, 2017.
“You are required to file your submissions in mitigation pending sentence (if any) within 14 days of this letter, failure of which Council will deliberate on sentence without further notice to you.
“You extorted and intimidated members of the public through a letter that was based on falsehoods. You threatened attachment of identified property fully aware that there were no judgments to that effect. You authorised your name and the name of your law firm to be used to illegally search people, thus, violating people’s privacy.”
This week, Mangwana approached the High Court seeking review of the LSZ decision, arguing the legal practitioners’ body finding was irregular.
“The decision sought to be reviewed is contained in a latter communicated by respondent (LSZ) to applicant (Mangwana) dated July 24, 2017 . . . wherein it found applicant guilty of certain charges of professional misconduct and required applicant to mitigate in lieu thereof. Applicant did not plead in mitigation thereto citing irregularities as reflected below,” Mangwana said.
“. . . I responded to the matter in my letter dated June 22, 2015, indicating that my firm had engaged tracers to ascertain if the debtors had attachable property. This was a misuse of the term tracers when what I meant was that the engaged persons were under the firm’s direct supervision and instructed to check by way of visual inspection whether or not there was attachable property when they delivered letters of demand and other follow-up documents generated from my firm.”
However, the LSZ was not satisfied with Mangwana’s explanation and preferred charges against him.
The matter is pending.