Letter to Nick Mangwana: Allegations of Corrupt Lawyers and Judicial Officers

The Law Society of Zimbabwe has on numerous occasions reiterated its consistent position in response to public officials’ claims that there were corrupt legal practitioners and judges in Zimbabwe. These averments have been repeated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. We take note of the fact that the same claims have now been made by you Sir, we believe in your capacity as the government of Zimbabwe official spokesperson, in a tweet that you posted on your twitter handle this morning. In your tweet you alleged that a group of legal practitioners have sought to “capture the judiciary”. This open letter has indeed been occasioned by those claims which you declared as fact. We take these claims seriously as they suggest that the judiciary is not independent and that lawyers are key participants in the alleged capture of the judiciary.

We are worried that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” is being trashed. It is our firm belief that megaphone approach in the administration of justice will not serve the anti-corruption fight but might have the unintended consequence of undermining the delivery of justice. This is particularly disconcerting against the backdrop of multiple arrests of legal practitioners in a manner we perceive as heavy-handed and amounting to persecution of the legal profession. In most of the cases we have noted vexatious allegations which amount to harassment of legal practitioners for merely doing their work.

The Law Society does not condone judicial corruption at the instigation of legal practitioners, politicians, or the litigating public.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe regulates the conduct of legal practitioners and is keen to discipline any of its members who might be involved in corrupt dealings. Your tweet was clear that you are speaking based on facts. We, therefore, call upon you to kindly share with us the evidence that you have against our members to enable us to undertake our own investigations. We also call upon you to forward any information relating to corrupt judicial officers to the JSC so that they can be investigated in terms of the law. We appreciate your urgent cooperation in this regard.

Source: Law Society of Zimbabwe