‘Dishonourable’ Top Lawyer Deregistered

Lloyd Manokere

THE Lawyer Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has de-registered a senior lawyer, Lloyd Manokere after its disciplinary tribunal found guilty of being “unprofessional and dishonourable”.

The founder and managing partner at Manokore Attorneys DLA Piper Africa Zimbabwe, Manokore was tried by the legal practitioners’ disciplinary tribunal presided by Justice Felistus Chatukuta and Justice Joseph Musakwa.

It finalised the hearing by convicting and de-registering him on the grounds of unethical conduct Thursday.

Making the ruling in the case in which the LSZ was the applicant, Chatukuta said Manokore unlawfully acted at the same time for two different parties where the interests of the parties were conflicted or were bound to be conflicted.

“He sold the immovable property of a client without the client’s authority or an order of court. After selling the property and receiving the purchase price he failed to remit the balance of purchase price to the client. He instead forwarded the money to the client’s creditor without client’s consent,” the judge ruled.

“He further disregarded the instructions of the client to revoke a power of attorney. The respondent’s conduct was unprofessional, dishonourable, and unworthy, warranting the deletion of his name from the register of the Legal Practitioners, Notaries and Conveyancers.”

Manokore’s case arose after one Perkins Zhawari and his wife on June 20 2016 submitted a complaint to the LSZ against him.

The complainants were the owners of immovable property, Lot 2 of Stand Number 91M Bellevue Township in Bulawayo.

Papers state sometime in 2012 Celgrim Bakeries made an application for a credit facility with National Foods. Celgrim was represented by Grimmond Nyatanga who requested Zhawari to provide security required by National Foods for the credit facility in the sum of US$3000.

Zhawari offered his immovable property as security for credit facility extended to Celgrim Bakeries. They signed a power of attorney on November 6 2012 appointing Manokore and Partners to act as the attorney whenever the debt due to National Foods was unpaid.

On the same day, Zhawari deposed to an affidavit ceding the immovable property to National Foods while Manokore’s law firm was also represented National Foods.

However, Celgrim Bakeries failed to pay the debt to National Foods and on February 19 2013 signed an acknowledgement of debt amounting to US$10 520, 53 undertaking to pay monthly installments of US$2000 until completion but also failed to do so.

On January 24 2014, Manokore acting on behalf of National Foods sent a letter to Zhawari stating their intention to sell his immovable property to offset the debt.  The property was later sold to one Grace Nyoni for US$35 000.

However, Zhawari and his wife submitted they never consented to the sale of the property.

Manokore submitted an urgent chamber application seeking to stay the tribunal proceedings pending the finalisation of a case in which Zhawari was seeking cancellation of the sale of the property against the National Foods, Celgrim Bakeries and Grace Nyoni. But his submission was turned down.

Justice Chatukuta ruled since Zhawari had not consented to the sale of the property, Manokore was able to do so only if he had obtained a court order.

“It is our view that the applicant has succeeded to prove on balance of probability that the respondent’s conduct firstly, in acting for two parties who were conflicted, secondly in selling the property without consent or order of court and lastly failing to remit the balance of the purchase price to complainants and instead remitting it to National Foods was unprofessional, dishonourable and unworthy of a legal practitioner,” the judge said.