ZIMBABWE – The High Court has barred a top lawyer from acting in litigation involving a former client in a dispute over control of a bank, citing paramount conflict of interest.
Renaissance Financial Holdings stopped its former lawyer Mr Addington Chinake, a leading partner at Kantor and Immerman and the law firm, from acting in a claim brought against the National Social Security Authority in the dispute over control of Capital Bank.
Justice Joseph Martin Mafusire issued an order restraining Mr Chinake and the law firm from acting for NSSA in the matter.
He also ordered Mr Chinake to pay costs of suit from his own pocket in a case which brought under the spotlight the professional ethics of lawyers after he appeared to have violated the most basic rules of conduct binding legal practitioners.
According to the court order issued on November 25, Justice Mafusire gave respondents, Professor Christopher Chetsanga, Monica Mukonoweshuro, Bartholomew Musakwa and NSSA three weeks to “identify and brief a new counsel of their choice”.
“5th and 6th respondents (Addington Baxley Chinake and Kantor and Immerman) be barred from acting for 1st , 2nd , 3rd, and 4th respondents (Prof Chetsanga, Ms Mukonosweshuro, Musakwa and NSSA).
“Costs be awarded against Mr Chinake de bonis propiis (pay from own pocket).”
In granting the chamber application seeking the recusal of Mr Chinake from the litigation, Justice Mafusire considered objections by RFH lawyer Mr Vote Muza of Muza and Nyapadi that Mr Chinake had been acting for RFH for more than a decade.
He also argued that Mr Chinake was seriously conflicted after he switched camp and started representing NSSA.
According to court papers, Since 2000 Kantor and Immerman had continuously acted for RFH and its group of companies, including RFH’s founding and major shareholders who have interests in the present litigation.