10 July 2019

Zimbabwe: Misconduct-Accused Lawyer Seeks High Court Appointment

A Kadoma-based lawyer, who is facing three charges of misconduct, is seeking appointment to the High Court bench, despite that his cases are still pending before the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ)'s disciplinary council.

This emerged during public interviews for aspiring candidates to fill eight vacancies of judges of the High Court.

Mr Ignatious Murambatsvina was not moved when one of the commissioners of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) brought to his attention the charges he is facing.

The commissioner, Mr Lloyd Mhishi, asked Mr Murambatsvina how safe it was for the commission to recommend his appointment in the face of the pending disciplinary cases.

Mr Murambatsvina went on to deny all the charges despite the fact that the LSZ had raised a red flag on his shortlisting.

"There is no prejudice in the commission to make a recommendation for my appointment," said Mr Murambatsvina.

"I am quite positive that in view of the answers, facts obtaining on the ground, there is no prejudice. There is nothing unprofessional that I did."

Judge President George Chiweshe asked Mr Murambatsvina on what basis he insisted to be eligible for the appointment, despite the pending charges.

Mr Murambatsvina said it came as a shock that the law society had pending issues against him in the legal practitioners' disciplinary tribunal, which he was being made aware of during the interview for the first time.

"I actually got to know about this from the JSC, not from the law society itself, but from the JSC," he said. "The whole proceedings are brought into disrepute."

Mr Murambatsvina said the law society should have made him aware of the cases at the appropriate time, when the issues against him arose.

Judge President Chiweshe advised him to clear himself with the law society, saying he should not expect the commission to ignore such issues.

Mr Murambatsvina insisted that the law society had not brought the charges to him, and as far as he was concerned, he was clean.

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