Namibia: High Court Extends Lawyer's Suspension

4 November 2019

Windhoek — The Windhoek High Court has extended the suspension of a Windhoek-based lawyer on allegations that he mismanaged N$560 000 entrusted to him in a trust by his clients.

Judge Harold Geier ordered that attorney Mutimani Vernon Lutibezi's suspension be extended with 30 days pending finalisation of disciplinary proceedings against him by the Law Society of Namibia.

The suspension is effective from 2 November. Lutibezi was previously suspended last month for 30 days.

The law society asked the court to order the temporary suspension of Lutibezi's licence to practise law. Lutibezi was admitted as a legal practitioner in 2015.

In an affidavit filed in court, the law society said it received complaints against Lutibezi from clients.

One client, a pastor who owns a church in Rundu, Benjamin Muiruri, allegedly deposited N$560 000 into the trust account of Lutibezi's firm in 2016. The money was intended for the purchase of a house on behalf of the church and was from a deceased client whose estate was being managed by Lutibezi.

However, the transaction never took place and the lawyer was ordered to return the money. Documents filed in court indicate that Lutibezi only paid N$240 000 and currently still owes the church N$320 000, an amount he acknowledged to the law society.

A second complaint came from a client named Alex Lirumbi who gave the firm N$1 229 713.50 on 25 August 2016. He claims that he then made two withdrawals, one on 5 October 2016 in the amount of N$200 000. The second withdrawal of N$300 000 was made on 15 October 2016.

Lirumbu explained that the above money excludes a personal loan to Lutibezi in the amount of N$400 000.

Lutibezi admitted in a letter dated 24 November 2017 that he owes Lirumbu N$400 000 of which he has since paid N$110 000. He would allegedly pay N$25 000 monthly effective 30 December 2017.

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