The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) has filed an appeal seeking to overturn the High Court's decision ordering the issuance of a practising certificate to Collins Newman and Company (CNC) and its managing partner, Parks Tafa.
Tafa, former Botswana Democratic Party legal advisor had taken the LSB to court challenging its decision not to award him a practising licence for this year and applying for his firm to be placed under curatorship.
He was not issued a practising certificate and as a result the Master of the High Court removed him from the roll of practising attorneys. George Simanga, a certified auditor of the Abson Partners, as curator had taken control and administered the trust accounts of CNC.
Tafa has since challenged the decision successfully as the court recently ruled that he and his firm be issued with practising certificates.
But in a filed appeal at the Court of Appeal dated September 3, 2019 the LSB said the court erred in arriving at the decision in favour of Tafa because he and his firm were not compliant with the rules and have not even submitted audited books for the firm.
The LSB’s contention is that the court had failed to recognise that as a regulatory body the society has a statutory obligation and a mandate to ensure compliance with the Legal Practitioners Act.
“The court below ought to have found that for the requirements of Section 30 of the Act to be satisfied, a certified copy of the actual audited accounts of an attorney’s trust accounts must be furnished and same must
LSB also argued that for the court to have arrived at the decision it required at least a skeptical and penetrating scrutiny of the material placed before it and a readiness to ask questions to make sure that the material has been properly understood.
The society pointed out that the court ought to have found that the LSB’s statutory mandate on proper consideration of the four documents of the auditors were not satisfied.
Further, the LSB said the court misdirected itself in law by holding that they were wrong to invoke the powers of the master as prescribed by the Act as the jurisdictional facts were absent whilst the Registrar had in fact removed Tafa and the firm from the roll.
“The court a quo misdirected itself in fact in law in departing from statutory definition of word roll in terms of the Act and instead holding that the effect of the removal by the Registrar must be understood to be removal from the register of practising attorneys for the year 2019,” said LSB.
The LSB wants the order of the High Court set aside and its appeal upheld with costs. Tafa and his firm through their attorneys Makati Law Consultancy are yet to file replying papers. Botlhole Law Group represents the LSB.