Prominent Lawyers, Doctor Muhammed Shamsud-Dean Sahu Khan, Mehboob Raza and Vipul Mishra have today been found guilty in relation to certain charges by the Independent Legal Services Commission.
Commissioner John Connors has found Mishra guilty of two counts of professional misconduct while Mehboob Raza has been found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.
Connors has also found Sahu Khan guilty of professional misconduct.
Vipul Mishra's charges relates to him representing one Ambika Nand for the sale of Nand's land situated in Ba to one Sashi Kiran Pratap, and failing to properly inquire or cause proper inquiry concerning the mortgage on the land in question.
The charge said Mishra subsequently transferred the land in question to Pratap, a conduct which involved a substantial failure to reach a reasonable standard of competence and diligence.
The second charge relates to Mishra failing to disclose to Pratap or her appointed solicitor, all the material facts concerning the said piece of land.
The third count against Mishra has been dismissed by the Commission.
Mehboob Raza's charge relates to Raza failing to protect Sashi Kiran Pratap's interest in the land situated in Ba, where a duly executed transfer to Pratap had been lodged with the Registrar of Titles.
Three counts in relation to Doctor Sahu Khan and the law firm Sahu Khan have been dismissed.
However Doctor Sahu Khan has been found guilty of one count of professional misconduct.
That charge relates to Doctor Sahu Khan executing a Deed of Indemnity and Guarantee with Sashi Kiran Pratap, which provided that Sahu Khan would arrange at his own cost a loan of 120 thousand dollars for Pratap to pay one Mohammed Farouk Ali, who was Sahu Khan's client, when Pratap had already paid the sum of 130 thousand dollars to Ambika Nand.
In exchange for this, Pratap agreed to provide Sahu Khan with her authority to take action for damages against the Registrar of Titles and or the Attorney General.
However Sahu Khan then initiated civil proceedings in the Ba Magistrates Court against Pratap for failing to pay the loan amount and interest to the respective lenders after the civil suit against the Registrar of Titles and the Attorney General was dismissed.
While delivering the ruling today, Commissioner John Connors said the fact that a member of the public who engaged a solicitor to carry out a simple transaction should pay the purchase price and then have on her title, a mortgage and a judgment debt and having been encouraged to borrow funds to meet that debt, is now being sued to recover the money, is an indictment on the legal profession in Fiji.
Mitigation for the three lawyers will take place before the Independent Legal Services Commissioner, Connors on the 28th of April.
They will be sentenced on the 4th of May.
Story by: Vijay Narayan
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