LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The High Court of Malawi Commercial Division in Lilongwe has punished a private practice lawyer and his client for their suspicious action in the disposal of property seized from a defendant, Zhejiang Communications Construction Group.
Mzuzu-based lawyer George Jivason Kadzipatike was, on behalf of his client McDonald Kamwera of KM Building Contractors, enforcing a seizure order through sheriffs for the judgement sum of about MK48 million granted by the court.
However, during the exercise they seized four tippers and a Ford Ranger pick-up valued at over MK192 million, four times the judgement sum.
The lawyer and his client, according to the ruling dated May 16 2023 by Judge Charlotte Wezi Mesikano Malonda, also pressurised the defendant through the sheriffs to pay legal costs of K65 million before the court made an assessment. The court’s assessment turned out to be slightly over K23 million, which is K40 million lower than what they were demanding.
Moving on to determine issues on the sale of the defendant’s seized property, the judge observed that much as the claimant obtained an order to sale the property by private treaty, they did not use it.
Malonda observed that on February 21 2022, about 17 days after the vehicles were seized, the defendant contacted the sheriffs to redeem the vehicles and pay, only to be informed that the property was sold by Kadzipatike.
“Up to now, no report has been provided by the claimant nor Mr. Kadzipatike on the proceeds of sale,” she said, adding that the defendant stated that the sheriffs were not involved in the disposal.
The judge observed that the claimant usurped the role of sheriffs and the claimant’s involvement in the sale of the property was illegal and not supported by any law and Sheriffs Act.
The court set aside the sale and found that Kadzipatike did not conduct himself properly. The judge said the conduct of Kadzipatike and Victor Nyirenda of Sheriff’s office was criminal and should not be condoned.
“The abuse of court processes to pursue selfish and criminal ends is gross, uncouth and undermines the power of the court to settle disputes justly,” Malonda said.
The court ordered the claimant and Kadzipatike to pay back K192 603 397.62, being sales of the vehicles and K48 541 831.27, being judgement debt.
The judge also ordered relevant authorities, including Malawi Police Service and the Anti- Corruption Bureau to investigate the conduct of Kadzipatike and Nyirenda.
The court also ordered the Malawi Law Society to take disciplinary measures against the conduct of their member, Kadzipatike, which it said borders on perjury and dishonesty.
Source: Nation Newspaper