Once flambouyant criminal lawyer, Tiro Lyndon Mothusi has once again been disbarred from practice. His latest barring comes just six years after he returned to practice through a court order. Just like in 2008, he finds abiding by Law Society of Botswana (LSB) regulations a tough ordeal.
Samuel Njaji was appointed curator to control and administer the trust accounts controlled and administered by Mothusi. This was after LSB filed a case against Mothusi after he failed to pass on money paid to his client Berea Security Services (Pty) Ltd as payment from University of Botswana (UB).
According to court papers, LSB on July 18, 2021 received a complaint from Berea through an affidavit by company director Johnson Jobela Masole. “Berea had engaged the services of Mothusi to collect a debt on its behalf from UB. A settlement agreement was concluded in respect of the debt and UB paid the sum of P166,541.21 into Mothusi & Company Attorneys Trust account on 3rd June 2018. Berea was to receive an amount of P138,541.00 from Mothusi’s firm after deduction of the agreed legal costs. Mothusi issued a cheque on 12 July 2018 to Berea but dishonoured on 14 July 2018 due to insufficient funds in the Trust Fund held by Stanbic Bank. Berea was only paid after it had lodged a case with both LSB and the police,” reads the court papers.
Despite Berea withdrawing the cases after being paid, LSB placed the matter before the Disciplinary Committee which determined that there was a possible case of misconduct against Mothusi.
The DC determined that Mothusi violated Regulation 42.1.5 of the LSB for delaying payment of trust money after due demand was made by client and without any lawful excuse. The DC further determined that there was a shortfall in the Trust Account of the firm as at the time the cheque was presented for payment.
In court, Mothusi tried to deny any wrong doing. He argued that no direct evidence has been adduced of any wrong doing on his part safe for hearsay. He said the LSB depended on hearsay and has no personal knowledge of the matter. Mothusi further argued that the applicant did not produce a copy of the cheque to prove that it was dishonoured. He also said there was no prove that the complainant had authority to lodge the complaint.
Garekwe found that the way Mothusi acted and ultimately responded to the DC and before courts placed him as not fit and proper to practice as an attorney.
In reference to his first disbarment, Garekwe wrote “Untruthfulness, that the LSB has not pointed to him ever committing acts of misconduct since he started practicing in 1993, knowing very well that he was in 2008 struck off the roll for acts of misconduct and only reinstated in 2015. This evidences that the respondent did not learn anything from past mistakes”.
LSB was represented by Dr Bonolo Dinokopila while Mothusi represented himself.