BANK of Zambia (BoZ) legal counsel Leonard Nkole Kalinde has survived suspension from practicing law and from being struck off the roll of lawyers in the country after the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) found him guilty of professional misconduct in a matter where he advised the Central Bank to hide evidence on the mismanagement of the liquidation of Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) and Access Leasing Services (ALL).
LAZ has established that BoZ lawyer, Dr Kalinde breached the Legal Practitioners’ Act Chapter 30 by deliberately misadvising the Central Bank to expunge evidence revealing that the liquidation of Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) and Access Leasing Services Limited (ALL) was mismanaged.
The Law Association of Zambia has found Dr Kalinde guilty for advising the Bank of Zambia not to take disciplinary action against Mashall Mwansopelo, an employee of the bank who had committed serious offences in the liquidation of AFSL and ALL when there was evidence of impropriety.
LAZ has since reprimanded Dr Nkole strongly for professionally misconducting himself in the manner he advised the Bank of Zambia, which legal counsel was meant to conceal evidence against the Central Bank’s involvement in the liquidation of ASFL and ALL.
In this matter, a complaint of professional misconduct against Dr Nkole was launched to LAZ by Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe, the former directors of AFSL and ALL that the Central Bank legal advisor deliberately rendered unethical advice with the view to concealing evidence.
Mr Chungu and Mr Kabwe had challenged the implementation of the liquidation schedule of AFSL and ALL by Bank of Zambia but Dr Kalinde advised the Central Bank of expunge from the Respondents documents that contained information protected by legal professional privilege.
The Supreme Court has since ruled that it would not be in public interest to allow the Central Bank, a public institution to purposely refrain from disciplining Mr Mwansopelo because the bank feared that his evidence was going to assist Mr Kabwe and Mr Chungu in proving allegations of mismanagement in the liquidation of AFSL and ALL.
“As hereinbefore stated, it is not disputed that the respondents’ legal opinion was intended to mislead the client to hide information as found by the court. The legal guidance by the Respondent was not in tandem with the professional conducted expected of legal practitioners. We, therefore, find that the practitioner (Dr Kalinde) has misconducted himself in the manner he advised his client. This misconduct is punishable under section 53 of the Legal Practitioners’ Act. The punishment inter alia are that a petitioner may be admonished or suspended from practice or indeed have his name struck off the roll,” LAZ said in its ruling.
LAZ has, however, ruled that AFSL and ALL had not been seriously prejudiced by Dr Kalinde’s legal advice to BoZ that would have concealed evidence of mismanagement of the liquidation of AFSL and ALL.
LAZ adjudged that since the two financial institutions had not been prejudiced by the misconduct of Dr Kalinde, his (Dr Kalinde) conduct eliminated the more serious sanctions such as suspension or being struck off the roll.
The Legal Practitioners’ Committee of LAZ instead strongly reprimanded Dr Kalinde and warned that should he commit any further infractions, he would either be suspended from practicing law in Zambia or even struck off the roll.