AGs not sabotaging govt – official

SHARE   |   Monday, 30 May 2016   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho
AG, Molokomme AG, Molokomme

The Head of Civil Litigation at the Attorney General’s Chambers Morulaganyi Chamme has refuted accusations from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that there may be some lawyers at state law firm who conspire against government by ill advising her. Chamme was appearing before the PAC,standing in for Attorney General Dr Athaliah Molokomme. MP for  Tati West, Biggie Butale had asked Chamme to explain to the committee why it would seem that the state was losing a lot of cases with costs, which in most cases had been clear from the start that they were indefensible. “If at all these  people who are said to be advising government in legal matters are doing so,  it looks like they are giving it a rope to hang,” Butale charged, accusing the Attorney General’s chambers of having a conspiracy against government.

Chamme refuted  these claims, saying  they generally emerge victorious in most cases  they contest in court.  He also absolved the state law firm from ever ill advising government. “We have won at least 85 percent of our cases,” said Chamme. He was however at pains to answer, whether in cases where it was clear cut that the odds were up against the state, they have been able to sway it from engaging in litigations. According  to Chamme despite being government  lawyers, they also pride themselves with being fair and firm. He however acknowledged that there are at times constrained when dealing with some matters. Chamme explained that just like other employees acting on their employers orders,  they also cannot afford  to act against their client’s wishes even if they have advised them otherwise. “We are in a situation where we cannot say we have ever withdrawn our representation, any action to be taken is the prerogative of our clients. If  the instruction is to continue with litigation even if  we have advised otherwise,  we do as our client wishes,” said Chamme.

Meanwhile Chamme also told the PAC that the state law firm is grappling with shortage of lawyers especially those with experience who can pursue high profile cases. So bad is  the situation according to Chamme, that they are currently looking into other initiatives which can be used to pursue cases that have been pending for too long. “We are currently looking into outsourcing legal services for some of this cases,” Chamme said. According to Chamme the Attorney General’s Chambers continue to lose lawyers to the private sector at an alarming rate and says this maybe aggravated by the perception that the grass is more greener outside of government in the private practice.