Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Lobatse attorney ordered to close law firm

Lobatse-based attorney Situ Chilume was recently ordered to shut down his law firm, disconnect telephone lines and surrender the firm’s trust account to auditors.

The order was delivered by High Court Judge Michael Leburu after the Law Society of Botswana approached the court for an order interdicting Chilume from practicing.

Confirming the order, LSB Executive Secretary, Tebogo Moipolai, said the LSB approached the High Court after Chilume ignored an order that was granted on June 14 2013 and continued practicing.

He added that Chilume also refused to cooperate with the auditor appointed by the LSB. In the end the LSB approached the High Court again seeking an order to cite Chilume in contempt of court. The lawsuit against Chilume is part of the LSB’s crackdown on errant lawyers who have continuously refused to renew their practicing certificates with the society.

“There are currently seven law firms and 14 practitioners who are not compliant,” he said.

Justice Leburu also ordered Chilume to remove any signage that indicates that he practices as a lawyer, disconnect telephone lines and fax machines at his office and place another sign on his office doors indicating that his offices are closed for business. He was also ordered to publish a notice in local newspapers notifying the public that his offices are closed pending an audit.

Chilume was also ordered to make his trust account available to an auditor appointed by LSB.

“The respondent shall cause an audit to be conducted on his books and shall give an auditor appointed by the LSB access to his trust account to ensure that the account is audited timeously,” read the order by Justice Leburu.

The High Court also appointed Gaborone Deputy Sheriff, Joseph Kokeletso, to supervise compliance with the removal of signage, telephone, fax machines and erection of a notice on the door indicating that Chilume’s offices have closed for business.

Kokeletso was also instructed to file a report confirming that he has carried out the given orders with Lobatse High Court.

Both parties will return to court on June 30 to confirm compliance with the order, failing which LSB shall be at liberty to proceed with its application for contempt.

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