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LSB, Tafa in Court rematch

MPHO MOKWAPE
Tafa
The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) and Collins Newman and Company’s senior partner Parks Tafa are back in court over the prominent attorney’s issuance of a practicing certificate.

The pair will be back in the Court of Appeal (CoA) during the January session after the LSB last year filed an appeal seeking to overturn the High Court’s decision.

The High Court had ordered for the issuance of practicing certificate to Tafa after he was removed from the roll of practicing attorneys.

Tafa, who is the former Botswana Democratic Party legal adviser, had taken the Society to court challenging its decision not to award him a practice licence for year 2019 and applied for his firm to be placed under curatorship.

He challenged the decision successfully as the Court ruled that he and his firm be issued with practicing certificates.

However, the LSB was not happy with the High Court’s decision and filed an appeal at the CoA on September 3, 2019.

LSB’s main contention was that the Court erred in arriving at that decision because Tafa and his firm were not compliant with the rules and had at the time failed to even submit audited books for the firm.

The Society’s other contention was that the Court had failed to recognise that as a regulatory body, the LSB, has a statutory obligation and a mandate to ensure compliance with the Legal Practitioners Act.

“The Court below ought to have found that compliance to the mandate set by LSB was compulsory and needed to have been respected by the attorney and his law firm,” argued the Society.

LSB had at the time of filing the appeal argued that for the Court to have arrived at

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that decision, it should have made sure that all statutory mandate of the Society was meant, including the proper consideration, that all documents of the auditors were 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 Society wants the order of the High Court set aside and its appeal upheld with costs and in its last court papers late last year the LSB had filed for an expedited appeal requesting for the appeal to be slotted in the October session of CoA or on alternative date.

“The expedited appeal is to ensure that the uncertainty created by judgement of the court a quo should not be permitted to continue beyond the end of the year,” read LSB’s affidavit.

The main issue raised by the LSB was that the court had failed to recognise that compliance with the Act was mandatory and not selective.

The Society’s explanation was that Tafa, did not comply with the Act and was not issued a practicing certificate and as a result the Master of the High Court removed him from the Roll. However, Tafa in his replying affidavit did not agree with the Society’s decision for an expedited appeal. As of last year filing, Tafa and his firm were represented by attorneys Makati Law Consultancy.



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