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Royal Bank arrests: lawyers pull out

Shakeman Mugari

SCANLEN & Holderness, the principal lawyers for the troubled Royal Bank, last week pulled out of the fraud case involving the bank’s two directors to avoid a conflict of interest.

Royal Bank directors Jeffrey Mzwimbi (48) and Simba Durajadi (49) were arrested last Wednesday on allegations of defrauding the bank of more than $12 billion. They were still detained by police at the time of going to print.

Scanlen & Holderness said they pulled out of the case because there were indications that a conflict of interest might arise during the course of the trial.

Sternford Moyo, a senior partner in the firm, confirmed that they would not defend the two bankers.

“Since we have acted for the individuals in the past and we are legal practitioners, we realised that there might be a conflict of interest,” said Moyo. “It is only a matter of ethics,” he said.

George Chikumbirike of Chikumbirike and Associates is now representing Mzwimbi and Durajadi.

Scanlen & Holderness have in the past represented the two directors in their individual capacities. They are also the principal lawyers for the bank where the accused are directors.

The law firm said it was not able to represent both parties – the bank and the two directors.

Royal Bank was placed under curatorship last month after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe discovered that the institution was not in a sound financial position.

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