PF chairperson for legal affairs Brian Mundubile has refuted claims that the party owes K37 million in legal fees for the ongoing parliamentary and local government petitions.
In an interview, Mundubile said the claims were laughable because the instructions that were given out on the petitions did not amount to K37 million.
“It is just making me laugh! First of all, we don’t owe K37 million to any [lawyer], even the number of lawyers, the instructions that we have given out on petitions do not cost K37 million. Secondly, our lawyers who we contracted are out there right now defending cases. Go to Kasama you will find lawyers, go to Mansa our lawyers are there, go to Chipata our lawyers are there. You know that parliamentary petitions are going on now. So, we wonder who we owe this K37 million and for what work?” Mundubile asked.
“As far as we are concerned, these petitions are ongoing and we are engaged in an agreement. We are within the agreement as far as we are concerned with the lawyers that we engaged. We are not there to begin to divulge details of lawyer-client relationship. What exists between us and the lawyers is an agreement on how we are going to proceed and work. We have performed within the agreement and the lawyers are well aware. So, the lawyers who are owed, we don’t know for which work, we don’t know because the work they are referring to is ongoing.”
Mundubile said the party engaged respectable lawyers who were also wondering where the same information was coming from.
“So that is our reaction and for us, it is laughable that people should go to that extent. We engaged very respected lawyers in this exercise who are busy out there. So, for the lawyers that rushed to the media and did not want to come and see me or see the secretariat, we wonder where they came from. We hope those lawyers were indeed doing our work, because we have checked with our lawyers, a few of them and they are wondering where this is coming from. These are lawyers we have worked with for a very long time and we have checked with them, they are all wondering where this is coming from because the guys are in court as we were talking,” he said.
When asked whether he sent a message to the lawyers in a WhatsApp group, questioning why they had taken the matter to the media when the party had not refused to pay them their dues, Mundubile denied the same saying he only communicated with the lawyers through a Zoom meeting which was conducted on Tuesday.
“They were economical with the truth, we have two forms of communication with our lawyers, we have virtue meetings. If that person was indeed one of us, he should have made details to a virtual meeting that lasted two hours where we were addressing issues to do with petitions, an update on how cases were progressing. He should have made details about that. Imagine that on Tuesday, which was just a week ago, we had a two-hour meeting, that meeting should have been dominated by the issue of the K37 million. He should have made reference to that meeting because we sat with lawyers right across the country, how come the issue of the K37 million was not part of that virtue meeting?” he said.
Mundubile insisted that the party would not owe any lawyer that kind of money once the petitions were concluded.
“So, it is a total fabrication and whoever it is I think is just hellbent on tarnishing the name of the party, which is unfortunate. Even at the end of the exercise, we won’t owe anybody that kind of money because we had engaged lawyers and yes we have been performing according to the agreement. So, whoever that is with that wild allegation, we can only wish them well with what they are trying to do. So that is our reaction, we don’t owe lawyers K37 million. Even at the end of the exercise we will not owe the lawyers K37 million. We have given instructions, we entered into the agreement and we are within the agreement. So, there is no negligence on our part, we have remained within the agreement that we made with the lawyers and they are in courts working. So, we wonder where that lawyer came from, unless he joined from where we don’t know on these petitions,” said Mundubile.
Some lawyers have complained that the Patriotic Front owes them about K37 million in legal fees for the ongoing parliamentary and local government petitions.
Affected lawyers, who spoke on the basis of anonymity, alleged Mundubile, who is also chairperson of the legal affairs committee, was given the said money but has not yet paid about 20 law firms despite continued requests.