Zimbabwe Vice President Joice Mujuru’s lawyers speak out

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Musunga and Associates law firm yesterday said it conducted its business professionally when it dealt with the case in which Vice President Joice Mujuru was involved in underhand dealings with Kenyan and Indian financiers who had invested in the Mujuru family-owned duty-free shops at the Harare International Airport.

VP Mujuru received and signed for thousands of dollars in illegal cash payments from the financiers before elbowing them out in a manner that bordered on extortion and abuse of office. Musunga and Associates, who were representing Suzan General Trading since 2011, allegedly dumped their clients and began representing VP Mujuru in the dispute with her business partners, raising serious questions of unethical conduct on the part of the lawyers. A letter written to Suzan General Trading by Mr Aston Musunga, the senior partner at Musunga and Associates, indicated that the law firm was dumping its clients because VP Mujuru was a senior member at Zanu-PF for which the law firm handles some cases.

Mr Musunga said in the letter that there was going to be a conflict of interest if they continued representing Suzan General Trading. But yesterday Mr Musunga sang a different tune, saying Suzan General Trading approached them for legal representation in a case in which the company alleged that its shops at the Harare International Airport were not being managed properly, including disputes over profit sharing. “They instructed us that they wanted an arbitrator to decide on their management aspect of their company,” said Mr Musunga. “We accordingly recommended that the matter be referred for arbitration.” Mr Musunga said the arbitration proceedings did not go through, prompting the law firm to renounce agency to represent Suzan General Trading.

He said the reason for renouncing agency at that point was that their efforts to have the matter resolved by way of arbitration had failed. However, in his letter dated April 15, 2013 to Suzan General Trading renouncing agency, Mr Musunga cited alleged conflict of interest saying he also represented Zanu-PF of which VP Mujuru is a senior leader, in some cases. “We refer to the above matter and herein advise that we will not be able to represent you in the above matter.

We had hoped that the matter would be resolved amicably but the turn of events suggest that the parties are all geared to fight it out. “Our firm represent the Zanu-PF in a number of cases and we note that our Honourable Vice President Mujuru is one of the parties. We, therefore, have a clear conflict of interest and we regret to advise that you will have to retain another firm of lawyers,’’ reads the letter from Musunga and Associates. Efforts to get comment from the Law Society of Zimbabwe were unsuccessful last night.

During her highly subscribed “Meet the People” rallies in all 10 provinces First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe rapped VP Mujuru and called her to resign or risk being fired for alleged corruption, abuse of office, extorting shares from companies and demanding 10 percent bribes from potential investors.

Source: Herald

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