The High Court of Malawi Commercial Division in Lilongwe has taken action against a private practice lawyer, George Jivason Kadzipatike, and his client, McDonald Kamwera of KM Building Contractors, for their suspicious actions in the disposal of property seized from a defendant, Zhejiang Communications Construction Group.
Kadzipatike, representing his client, was enforcing a seizure order through sheriffs for a judgment sum of approximately K48 million. However, during the process, they seized property worth over K192 million, including four tippers and a Ford Ranger pick-up, which exceeded the judgment sum by four times.
Additionally, Kadzipatike and his client pressured the defendant, through the sheriffs, to pay legal costs of K65 million before the court had assessed the amount. The court’s assessment turned out to be slightly over K23 million, significantly lower than the amount demanded.
Regarding the sale of the seized property, the judge, Charlotte Wezi Mesikano Malonda, noted that although the claimant obtained an order to sell the property by private treaty, they did not follow through with it. The defendant attempted to redeem the vehicles and make the payment but was informed that Kadzipatike had already sold the property without involving the sheriffs.
Malonda determined that the claimant had usurped the role of the sheriffs, and their involvement in the sale of the property was illegal and unsupported by any law or the Sheriffs Act. The court set aside the sale, finding that Kadzipatike had conducted himself improperly. The judge regarded the conduct of Kadzipatike and Victor Nyirenda from the Sheriff’s office as criminal and unacceptable.
The court ordered the claimant and Kadzipatike to repay K192,603,397.62, which represents the proceeds from the sale of the vehicles, and K48,541,831.27, which is the judgment debt. Furthermore, the judge instructed relevant authorities, including the Malawi Police Service and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, to investigate the conduct of Kadzipatike and Nyirenda. The Malawi Law Society was also directed to take disciplinary measures against Kadzipatike, as his actions were deemed to border on perjury and dishonesty.