By Staff Reporter
Prominent Harare lawyer Charles Chinyama has been convicted by a Tribunal set up by the Law Society of Zimbabwe to investigate his professional misconduct.
The Tribunal convicted Chinyama on six of total of the seven counts levelled against him.
Chinyama was found guilty of unprofessional, dishonourable or unworthy conduct on counts one and two of having a questionable relationship with his client, an estranged wife of the complainant in a divorce matter between the couple.
He was also found guilty of withholding trust money without lawful excuse on counts three and four while on count five the lawyer was convicted of having failed to account to the complainant and to defend the complainant’s case resulting in a default judgement.
On count six, Chinyama was found guilty of failing to account to a client and withholding trust money without lawful cause.
He is also accused of failing to remunerate his professional assistant without just cause, failing to account for the funds deposited in a trust account, and failing to issue receipts on transactions involving trust funds.
“The complaint regarding Prosper Sidhuli presents no difficulties. The respondent failed to pay the complainant an agreed salary. His explanation to the applicant when enquiries were made was that the salaries were up to date. Surprisingly the respondent did not avail proof in the form of bank statement or salary schedule to demonstrate that nothing was due to the complainant,” the tribunal stated in its findings.
“In the case of the complaint by Findros Godzi, the respondent never issued the complainant with receipts for money paid to him. This constitutes unethical conduct of failing to account to a client. The respondent also failed to defend the complaint’s case in court, resulting in a default judgement. The respondent’s explanation to the applicant was that he had not been placed in funds. Nonetheless, the respondent had a duty to uphold and advance the interests of his client.”
However, Chinyama was absolved of forging an acknowledgement of debt.
Chinyama denied all the allegations until legal practitioners disciplinary tribunal consisting of High Court judges Justice Felistus Chatukuta and Justice Joseph Musakwa was set up.
Law Society of Zimbabwe also confirmed the conviction and stated that the Tribunal is awaiting Chinyama’s mitigation and aggravation to be made.