Lawyer Silvester Ayuba James is on the verge of being struck off from the roll of legal practitioners in Malawi on allegations that he embezzled over K11 million of 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 a private practice lawyer be struck off the roll of legal practitioners.
The committee further recommended that the Director of Public Prosecutions should commence criminal proceedings against James for embezzling funds for his client Billy Matitha Gama amounting to K11.3 million.
It is understood that in his practice, Ayuba James committed six offenses which included failure to open a client bank account, embezzlement, failure to provide competent representation to a client, engaging in personal or professional conduct that brings discredit to the profession, engaging in misconduct that brings the profession of law into disrepute and failure to timely respond to MLS’s communication.
The committee reported that Gama who was sued by one of his suppliers deposited K60 million into Ayuba James personal account as they were waiting for reconciliation with the supplier.
Gama told the committee that while they were waiting for the reconciliation, he had withdrawn K29 million through James and that he was also told that there was a ruling from the court that required him to pay the supplier a sum of K46 million.
It is further understood that Ayuba James told Gama that he had made a mistake and deposited K11,300,000 million to Kawelo Lawyers, the supplier’s legal lawyers, instead of Gama’s personal account a development which saw Gama lodging a complaint.
In its determination dated 8th August 2023, the disciplinary committee, which met on 27th July, found Ayuba James guilty of embezzling his client’s funds and misconduct.
The committee has then ordered 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.
The MLS’s Disciplinary Committee has further recommended that Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda should consider strucking off Ayuba James roll of legal practitioners in Malawi.
“The Committee, therefore, resolved that: It should recommend to the Chief Justice that you be struck off the roll of legal practitioners in accordance with Section 96(1)(a) of LELPA.
“It should advise the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to institute criminal proceedings against you for embezzling client’s money in accordance with section 96(1)(e) of the LELPA.
“You should refund K11,300,000.00 to Mr Gama. Pay Two Hundred Forty Thousand Kwacha (K240,000.00) to the Malawi Law Society being costs of the disciplinary proceedings in accordance with Section 96(2)(a) of the LELPA,” reads some of MLS recommendations.
Meanwhile, James has told the local media that MLS has found him guilty without hearing his side.