Banker grills lawyers over misconduct
First Merchant Bank (FMB) Group Chairperson Hitesh Anadkat on Friday faulted misconduct among some lawyers as contributing to increased cases of injustice in the country.
Anadkat made the condemnation at the annual general meeting of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi.
While admitting misconduct among some lawyers, MLS outgoing president, John Suzi Banda, called for a review of regulations for them to be effective.
“The system can be improved as you know the disciplinary process takes time as it has to go through a disciplinary committee, before the Attorney General takes it up before the court. But I am encouraged with some members who are exemplary and this should continue because the society operates on trust from people,” said Suzi Banda.
In his 30-minute speech, Anadkat, who was the guest of honour, outlined a number of challenges dogging the legal profession such as ex-parte injunctions which he said are affecting delivery of justice and also bad for potential investors.
“We have got a fantastic
Judiciary and democracy is working, but injunctions fail us as businesses and banks to realise our rights because of excessive ex-parte injunctions. Sometimes it takes years and years on a straight-forward case… Ex-parte injunctions should only be given only if one is to lose something to fire, explosion or it’s dangerous, and it must have a limit after which delimit it,” he appealed.
He also condemned court shopping, observing that sometimes both the plaintiff and the defendant may be resident in Blantyre but a case is filed in Mzuzu, a development that is denting the image of the profession.
“Be exemplary like those lawyers who fought for our democracy. Don’t be lazy because I know some of the lawyers that have a pile of cases at different courts. You should be accountable and responsible,” he appealed.
Anadkat further called for a reduction in transaction costs of obtaining justice for the country to register more investors.
He then observed that there is a massive difference in the justice delivery between the rich and the poor.
“While in the developed world the justice delivery for the rich is 9 out of 10, and the poor 5 out of 10, in a country like Malawi the justice delivery for the rich is 10 out of 10, with the poor at 2 out of 10. Worse still, there is a long time to deliver justice for the poor, hence congestion in prisons,” he said.
Meanwhile, the delegates elected former Honorary Secretary Khumbo Bonzoe Soko, who went unopposed, as the new president to take over from Suzi Banda. Soko will be deputised by David Matumika Banda.
The honorary secretary is Michael Goba Chipeta, treasurer Felister Dossi while Burton Mhango, Martha Kaukonde and Tadala Chimkwezule were elected as committee members.
In his acceptance interview, Soko said he wants to improve the professional and ethical standards of lawyers in the country.
“I’m humbled by the trust reposed in me by my peers. During our term, we intend to focus on improving the professional and ethical standards of lawyers in the country. It saddens us that some lawyers continue to attract bad press for the profession on account of their unethical conduct,” said Soko.
He added that, “We also intend to continue carrying out our statutory objective of assisting the public on legal matters and on being unapologetic advocates of the rule of law. We will also work on ensuring that we build the capacity at our secretariat so that it’s better able to support the Society in carrying out its work.”
This year’s MLS AGM was held under the theme ‘Promoting Sustainable Economic Development in Malawi through a Sound Legal and Regulatory Investment Framework’.
Among those that attended included the Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Charles Chuka, Anti-Corruption Bureau Director Lucas Kondowe and the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale.
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