THE chairperson of the reconstituted Media and Information Commission (MIC) team to review the case of the outlawed Associated Newspapers of Zimbab
we (ANZ), Godfrey Chinondidyachii Mararike, was struck of the register of lawyers in 1994 for abusing trust funds and practising without a licence, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
ANZ was the publisher of the Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday that were banned by the government in September 2003 for failing to register with the MIC in line with provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu appointed Mararike into the MIC board alongside Charity Moyo, Edward Dube, Tendai Chari and Ngugi Wa Mirii in October.
Former Sunday Mail editor Pascal Mukondiwa and Tafataona Mahoso were re-appointed with the latter retaining the executive chairmanship.
However, Mahoso and Mukondiwa were barred from hearing the ANZ case after several court rulings said the previous board could no longer be trusted to decide the fate of the publishing house.
Mararike is the second blacklisted lawyer to be appointed by the government last month to head a crucial commission after Godwills Masimirembwa was picked to lead the National Incomes and Pricing Commission.
Masimirembwa was struck off the law register in March 1997 for abusing trust funds and also practising without a certificate.
Information to hand reveals that Mararike was deregistered by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) in January 1994 after being found guilty of “un-professional, dishonourable and unworthy conduct”.
The Legal Disciplinary Tribunal, chaired by the then Supreme Court judge Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, also convicted Mararike of practising law without a certificate from the LSZ and misappropriating trust funds.
Mararike issued a cheque in favour of a client that was, however, dishonoured. The LSZ instituted an inquiry into the matter, but Mararike allegedly failed to properly account to his client.
Justice Ebrahim found in favour of the LSZ’s application for Mararike to be struck off the register for five acts of misconduct. “The fact that a cheque was dishonoured by the bank in circumstances where the money should have been available to meet it can only be explained on the basis of misappropriation,” the disciplinary committee ruled.
Before he was struck off, Mararike had worked for two legal firms as a professional assistant since his admittance to the bar in 1986 before then High Court judge Justice Blackie.
Five years later he started his own firm, Mararike and Partners. Mararike’s certificate of practice expired on December 31 1992, but he continued to practise without a new one and he did not submit an audit certificate and the prescribed fee in terms of LSZ by-laws.
Before his admittance to the bar, Mararike worked for the Harare City Council as a legal adviser soon after completing his Bachelor of Law degree in 1984 at the University of Zimbabwe. He completed his LLB in 1985.
Mararike yesterday was uncooperative when reached for comment. He initially told Independent that he was having a bath and when called later, he claimed he was busy.