‘Rogue Law Firm Must Go Under Curatorship For Blowing Client’s US$144,000’ Law Society Of Zimbabwe (LSZ)’

The law society is also seeking an order to suspend Gonesi from practising as a lawyer for six weeks. It also wants to take control of the firm’s trust accounts. The LSZ has proposed that its deputy executive secretary, Wilbert Mandinde, be appointed the firm’s curator.

Curatorship means that the law firm will cease operations and have someone from outside the organisation put in charge to manage its activities. Mandinde, in his founding affidavit, said the respondents committed acts of unprofessional conduct by entering into a consent order on behalf of Xi Yun Mining former employees with their former employer without engaging them.

The law firm also allegedly secretly accepted $86,000 as full and final settlement against a claim of $144,000 for the workers that did not reach them.

“The respondents had in the process accepted $86,000 in full and final settlement against a claim of $144,000 resulting in a loss of $58,000 on the part of the employees. “The respondents had failed to disburse all the money received and were also refusing to account for it,” said Mandinde.

The LSZ said Gonesi and Partners also fraudulently inflated legal fees from 10 percent to 15 percent. The law society said the respondents also failed to provide detailed reports of its bank statement highlighting the funds received on behalf of the Xi Yun Mining ex-workers.

The statement of account showing the fees charged and the schedule of disbursements was also not provided. “It has therefore become necessary that the applicants be given a mandate to step in, take control and investigate the complaints without the respondents’ interference,” said Mandinde.

He said this was necessary to protect the profession as well as members of the public.

The LSZ is threatened with claims amounting to $3 million emanating from theft, fraud, forgery and dishonest practices from its members, with deregistered Bulawayo law firm Cheda and Partners having the highest claim at $1million. By Mashudu Netsianda-chronicle

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