Ayuba James’ proposed disbarment too harsh – legal expert

Alexious Kamangila Malawi

Legal expert Alexious Kamangila has described as death sentence the recommendation that lawyer Silvester Ayuba James should be struck off from the roll of legal practitioners for embezzling K11 million his client.

On Thursday this week, the disciplinary committee of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) made a recommendation to the Chief Justice that Ayuba James, who is a private legal practitioner, be struck off from the roll of legal practitioners. If heeded, this will mean Mr James will never practice law.

MLS disciplinary committee says Mr James embezzled funds for his client Billy Matitha Gama amounting to K11.3 million and further recommended that Director of Public Prosecutions should commence criminal proceedings against him.

The disciplinary committee has further ordered Mr Ayuba James to refund K11.3 million to Gama and pay MLS K240 000 as costs for the disciplinary proceedings in accordance with Section 96 (2) (a) of the LELPA.

Commenting on the matter through a Facebook post, Kamangila who teaches Clinical Legal Education at the University of Malawi, said the recommendation for disbarment of Mr Ayuba James is too harsh.

While emphasizing that counsel James deserves to be punished if allegations against him are true, Kamangila who is also a Reprieve Fellow fighting for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, is of the view that MLS disciplinary committee was not supposed to end his life in that manner.

“The recommendation to the Chief Justice to struck off Silvester Ayuba James from the Roll of Legal practitioners is a Death Sentence. And you know my position on Death Penalty.

“If what Counsel Ayuba was accused of is true, it is really really bad and the Client deserves Justice. But the offence and the proposed punishment don’t tally. If proven guilty, he should be punished and as soon as yesterday, but don’t end his life. He deserves a second chance. Everyone does deserve a second chance and everyone can change,” wrote Kamangila on his Facebook page.

He said it is very surprising that MLS disciplinary committee has recommended Ayuba James disbarment yet there are lawyers who have done worse but are up to are left scot-free.

“What is more painful to me is that, there are Lawyers who have done worse and MLS & the Disciplinary Committee hasn’t done anything or their recommendations are tokenism basically or babysitting. Other Lawyers have been turned into untouchables in this profession.

“This must end, and this will end. Lawyers are the most hated professionals, but ironically they also hate each other and themselves a lot,” goes another part of his Facebook post.