By: Kelvin Chiringa
Fishrot lawyer Trevor Brockeroff, who successfully represented Ricardo Gustavo’s bail hearing, is now set to face a disciplinary committee after being accused of badly representing a fired TransNamib employee, Daniel Nakambonde.
According to a subpoena seen by The Villager, Brockeroff is scheduled to appear on the 22nd of April 2022 in the ministerial boardroom of the justice ministry in Windhoek.
“Take notice that in the event that you fail to appear pursuant to this subpoena, you shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N$5 000,” reads the subpoena signed by secretary Amber-Ivana Coerecius.
Nakambonde, a train assistant, was dismissed by TransNamib after being accused of failing to issue a receipt for N$120 he got from a client.
Nakambonde said he applied for Legal Aid, which provided Brockeroff, who then represented him at High Court in an appeal lodged by his employer against a labour ruling in his favour.
But he has accused the lawyer of doing a shoddy job, failing to take proper instructions from him and failing to consult with him, leading to a court defeat.
Nakambonde appealed to the Supreme Court but lodged a complaint with the Law Society of Namibia (LSN), accusing Brockeroff of demonstrating a lack of professionalism, a lack of honour, and unworthy conduct.
The LSN director, Retha Steinmann, confirmed that their Legal Ethics and Investigatory Committee have investigated Brockeroff in light of the complaint lodged by Nakambonde.
“Kindly note that an application will be made to the disciplinary committee, in accordance with the provisions of Section 35(1) of the Legal Practitioners Act (Act 15 of 1995), in respect to certain allegations of the alleged unprofessional, or dishonourable or unworthy conduct of Mr T. Brockeroff and Mr F. Beukes,” wrote Steinmann to Nakambonde.
The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee also said that at its 27th of May 2020 meeting, it resolved that Nakambonde’s complaint disclosed “a prima facie case of unprofessional and/or dishonourable and/or unworthy conduct on the part of the legal practitioner concerned”.
“The Disciplinary Committee thus resolved to take the matter further by scheduling a disciplinary hearing against the aforesaid legal practitioner,” it said.
Nakambonde confirmed to The Villager that the hearing for the fishrot lawyer would be conducted from the 19th to the 22nd of April 2022.
In the meantime, Brockerof has said he is keen to clear his name.
“Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to discuss the matter as it is sub judice. Suffice to say that I did not do anything that may be deemed to be unprofessional or dishonourable. I will clear my name in the right way at the correct forum,” he said.
We don’t police our clients’ lawyers: Legal Aid
The Villager has established that on the 10th of February 2022, director of Legal Aid under the justice ministry, Patience Daringo confirmed providing Nakambonde with legal representation from conciliation to arbitration until the Supreme Court.
However, Daringo has refused to take the blame for the perceived shoddy job done by Brockeroff.
In her letter addressed to the justice ministry executive director and responding to Nakambonde, she said Legal Aid does not police the work of lawyers they provide to clients.
“Management of the Directorate of Legal Aid do not police private legal practitioners instructed on behalf of our clients because of the sheer number of cases that we deal with. We, however, rely on feedback from our clients regarding the conduct of lawyers we instruct for them,” she said.
She said they merely consider merits of complaints, withdraw the brief and instruct another legal practitioner.
Nakambonde was later given lawyer, Mbanga Siyomundji of Siyomundji Law Chambers.
Again, he accused the lawyer of failing to represent him seriously.
“Mr Siyomundji delegate(d) his sister, Mpule, to consult with me and prepare everything with the understanding he would argue the case in court. I, however, experienced a lack of diligence from the lawyers at Siyomundji Law Chambers regarding my case since the application to your office for the payment of the transcript from the High Court.
“Ms Mpule refused to type a letter to your office for me when I requested her, citing that she was not an administration officer, and I must wait for Ms Selma. I was unhappy with Ms Mpule’s conduct and wanted an appointment with Mr Siyomundji to express my dissatisfaction, but I let it go, as I thought it to be a small issue at the time,” he said.
Siyomundji said the TransNamib ex-employee is confused, citing that he provided adequate representation when his case was brought to the Supreme Court.
“That guy is a confused character. There was the issue of filing their notice of appeal and condonation. It was done late. He petitioned the Supreme Court, and that is when we were now instructed. To say that he was not adequately represented is a lie,” he said.
However, Nakambonde has expressed that he now wants to sue Brockeroff for causing him to lose his case, which has meant seven years of unemployment.
He disclosed to The Villager that he wants to sue for N$3 million.
In the meantime, Legal Aid did confirm that they refused Nakambonde’s applications “to sue some of the lawyers we instructed”.
According to them, there was no evidence of mala fides (intent to deceive). They further say the application had no merit, and that secondly, “because of the relatively small pool of legal practitioners that are prepared to accept our briefs on our tariffs”.
In short, Legal Aid said they did not consider it wise to “start suing our service providers”.
Supreme Court loss blamed on Legal Aid Lawyers
Nakambonde has said three Supreme Court judges found that his lawyers had done a poor job on the case; however, he expressed that it was unfair for him to lose his case based on the “incompetence of counsel”.
Legal Aid also confirmed that the “Supreme Court and labour court found that different lawyers did not adhere to various courts regarding filling pleadings.”