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City lawyer on the run

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A MAN from Waterford in Bulawayo has filed a complainant to the Law Society of Zimbabwe against a lawyer with Sansole and Senda law firm in Bulawayo, accusing the legal practitioner of misappropriating more than $10 800, which he recovered on his behalf.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

In a letter dated September 5 2014 addressed to the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Mfariseni Mleya complained about lawyer Ndivadzo Siphuma, whom he said he had instructed to collect R36 860 from one Moffat Mantula in 2012.

In the matter which spilled to the Bulawayo High Court, case number HC396/12, Mleya indicated that he had an agreement with Mantula in 2008, where he left his building materials with him for safe-keeping.

The material was valued at R36 860.

Mleya indicated that on September 17 2009, Mantula failed to account for the material and he signed an agreement to replace it by December 2009 and also pledged his immovable property as security in the event that he failed to honour the said obligation.

High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda on April 12 2012 granted Mleya an order compelling Mantula to replace Mleya 15 000 MacDonald bricks, 20x50kgs of cement, 30×4 inch brick force rolls and 4x 210 litres empty drums or pay him R36 860, being the value of the said material.

He also ordered that he pays 5% per annum in interest and stand 5316 Nketa of Lot 400A, measuring 2 440m² registered under Deeds of Transfer 52/91, be declared executable in the event that he failed to comply with the order.

Following the court order, Mleya said he instructed Siphuma to collect the repayment.

“On several occasions I called on Siphuma to give me progress on the matter, but he was evasive for a long time,” reads Mleya’s letter to LSZ.

“In July 2014, I then reported him to the police as I had paid for his services.

“He was arrested and on being interviewed, he claimed that since the defendant (Mantula) had died he was awaiting the winding up of his estate so that my judgment would participate in the distribution of the estate.”

Mleya said it turned out that Siphuma was lying when he said that he was awaiting the winding up of Mantula’s estate.

“Through my own investigations, I discovered that the late defendant’s house was disposed of on August 15 2012,” he wrote.

“This was the property in respect of which I had obtained judgment to have sold in execution.”

Mleya claims he discovered that Mantula’s family had paid Siphuma $500, being the equivalent of the judgment debt and interest.

He said after he learnt of this, he went back to the police, who then arrested Siphuma. Siphuma confessed that he misappropriated all the money and used a duplicate receipt book, which he kept in his office, unknown to the law firm.

“After his arrest, Siphuma implored me to get some form of arrangement with him so that he pays me all the money owed to me,” Mleya continued.

“As a result, I then entered into an agreement with him (dated August 29 2014).

“Siphuma fully consents to having misappropriated trust funds and as such I am asking your office to deal with the matter accordingly.”

Receipts of payment of the money which Siphuma collected from Mantula’s family dated August 15 2012 are in Southern Eye’s possession.

A senior partner at Sansole and Senda, Gift Nyathi, yesterday confirmed Siphuma’s case, saying the law firm had also written to LSZ complaining about Siphuma.

“Three weeks ago we wrote a letter to the Law Society of Zimbabwe complaining about him and he has since disappeared. We do not even know where he is,” he said.

“He disappeared early in September and he has never bothered to call and tell me, as a senior partner, where he is.

“We have written letters to the prisons, police, courts and all institutions that have to do with the judicial system in Zimbabwe, warning them about Siphuma.”

Nyathi said Siphuma left a pending case hanging and, as his disappearance was reported to the police, he was on the run.

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