He was regarded as one if not the most powerful lawyers in Botswana but in July this year he crumbled like a match box house with many people writing his legal orbituary.
In July 2019 Deputy Registrar and Master of the High Court in Lobatse Takura Charumbira interdicted one of the country’s maverick lawyers Parks Tafa from transacting the trust accounts of his law firm and appointed a curator to take control and administer the trust funds under Collins Newman & Co. law.
This came after the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) declined to award Tafa a practice licence for 2019 and applied for his firm to be placed under curatorship. Not the one to relent, Tafa who has been an attorney for the country’s most prominent people including the former President Ian Khama appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal.
On Friday 30th of August 2019 at the Lobatse High Court, Justice Lekorwe delivered a judgment which was music to the ears of Tafa and his law firm Collins Newman & Co. Law firm.
Justice Lekorwe ruled that decision by the Fidelity Guarantee Fund not to issue Collins Newman with certificate is set aside and ordered to issue them with certificate for the year ending December 2019.
He said that the decision by Fidelity Guarantee Fund not to issue the certificate to Law Society was illegal.
“The sixth respondent is hereby ordered, upon presentation of the Fidelity Fund Certificate (s) and payment of the prescribed fees, to issue Practicing Certificates to the firs applicant or Collins Newman and Company and restore the applicants’ names to the register/roll terms of Section 32 (5) of the Legal Practitioners act,” reads the judgment to the sixth respondent which is the Registrar of the High Court.
On placing Collins & Newman Company under curatorship by Charumbira, Justice Lekorwe set it aside.
“The first, second and third respondent shall pay costs of this application and those associated with the defective curatorship proceedings jointly and severally, the one paying the other (s) to be absolved,” said Justice Lekorwe.
On the 2nd of July 2019 the Collins& Newman Co. was placed under curatorship and the Master of the High Court issued rule nisi on the 4th of July 2019 calling upon Tafa to show cause why the law firm cannot be placed under curatorship.
In august Tafa and CNC filed an answer to proceedings before the Master of the High Court and simultaneously submitted a counter application on urgency. The Law society has argued that the books of CNC were not in order as evidenced by the audit report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
On the 10th of June this year, Tafa was removed from the roll by the Registrar as he could not satisfy the registrar that he has furnished the Law Society a certified copy of audited accounts of his trust accounts.
On the 22nd of February PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) issued a report in which they did not certify the trust account as having been properly kept.
The audit report indicated that there is a surplus of P1, 265, 854, 00 which represented unexplained deficiency in the sum of P500, 089, 00.
Though the audit report was not certified, Justice Lekorwe said that they did not state whether the accounts were kept or improperly kept.