In a an urgent application to be heard by Justice David Newman, the LSB wants the court to direct lawyers Otsweletse Moupo and his brother, Victor Moupo (cited as second respondent), to cease being in charge of and make any payments and disbursements from the trust and business accounts of the law practice named and styled as Moupo, Motswagole and Dingake. The LSB wants the two lawyers to be interdicted from interfering in the management of their law firm.
The LSB has chosen attorney Rahim Khan and public accountant Norman Wright to be appointed as the curators' bonii over the Gaborone office of Moupo's firm. Attorney Gabriel Komboni and public accountant Carlos Chileshe are to be in charge of the firm's Selebi-Phikwe office, should the LSB case succeed. "The said curators shall exercise all such powers as shall reasonably be required including access to all accounts of the said practice," the LSB says in a founding affidavit by its Executive Secretary, Patricia Makhoana. She states that it is a requirement of the Legal Practitioners Act that practitioners maintain and observe proper accounting and administrative practices and procedures in respect of funds and cases that the practitioner is entrusted with.
She added that lawyers are expected to submit quarterly bank statements to the LSB and at the end of a financial year, they are expected to initiate an audit of trust accounts.
"The audit must be carried out by a firm of auditors registered with the Botswana Institute of Accountants and submitted to the Law Society of Botswana," Makhoana said. She asserted that Moupo's law firm has failed to submit any quarterly bank statements to LSB and most importantly, an audit report for the financial year ending 2005. The LSB states that it is important that Moupo's firm be placed under curatorship so that discrepancies and queries could be attended to in good time.
For Awuah Khan and Company, the LSB wants attorneys Maame Baffour-Awuah, Sumaya Khan and Monica Tabengwa to be interdicted for interfering in the management of their firm. Makhoana said the firm submitted an audit report that did not satisfy the LSB council resulting in the commissioning of a special audit.
"The special audit revealed that though the respondents kept proper books of account, there were lots of things that the respondents did wrong. Among the wrong things that the respondents did were to give loans to members of staff and third parties from trust accounts as well as over-drawing the trust account by an amount of P230,884," states Makhoana adding that the firm does not bank trust monies in time. Yesterday, the three lawyers from Awuah, Khan and Company had served the High Court with papers indicating that they intend to oppose the LSB's application. By late afternoon, Moupo had not filed any notice of opposition.