The Zimbabwe Law Society has warned the public against hiring ‘beaters’ posing as lawyers as cases of people being defrauded by bogus lawyers rise.
“The public is warned to refrain from instructing anyone posing as a lawyer in the magistrates’ court. Before engaging the lawyer, ensure that the person claiming to provide legal services is duly registered and licensed by the Law Society of Zimbabwe to offer such services. Evidence of such a license may be in the form of a valid practicing certificate of that year,” said the executive secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Edward Mapara, in a statement.
“If members of the public are approached by unregistered and unauthorized persons claiming to offer legal services, they should report them to the courthouse police station or any nearest police station and such persons will be subject to prosecution.
“The public is further warned to refrain from dealing with registered and licensed attorneys who loiter outside the magistrates’ court for the purpose of obtaining legal work (vantage) and taking legal fees without issuing a receipt. It is grave misconduct for any licensed attorney to loiter in court for the purpose of solicitation for legal work.”
In April, Beaven Chipunza, 33, appeared before Magistrate Yeukai Dzuda on four counts of contempt of court and breach of the Law Practitioners Act.
It is alleged that on March 31 this year, Chipunza appeared before Norton Magistrate Christina Nyandoro disguised as a lawyer representing Shamiso Koroka who had been charged with illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
Chipunza identified himself in court as Koroka’s attorney, but he did not produce his practicing certificate.
On April 7 this year, Chipunza also appeared in Norton Magistrates Court in a case presided over by Takunda Chipeta where he also claimed to represent Koroka.
He was asked to produce his certificate of practice, but again failed to do so. Chipunza also impersonated a lawyer on two other counts.
It was later established that he did not have a practicing certificate, which led to his arrest.