PROMINENT Lusaka lawyer Nelly Mutti has been warned and cautioned by the police over allegations of fraud and theft of more than K35 million, police have said.
Ms Mutti from Lukona Chambers is also facing investigations over professional misconduct from the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) for her involvement in the disbursement of the money to retirees she represented.
Police spokesperson Charity Munganga-Chanda said Ms Mutti was suspected to have pocketed K35,951,705.08 from the Government.
Justice Permanent Secretary Joseph Akufumba also confirmed in an interview, saying Ms Muti was facing investigations on how she handled the money released by the Government for the retirees.
“The money involved is colossal,” he said. “While I am not aware that she has been warned and cautioned by the police, I am aware there were investigations going on about the money involved.”
There were also speculations during the week that a joint team of security officers had confiscated computers from Lukona Chambers as part of investigations but Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) public relations officer Thressa Katongo could not confirm.
However, Ms Chanda said a warn and caution statement had been recorded from Ms Muti and investigations were still going on.
The money was part of the amount the Government released for 3,523 retirees who left their employment under the voluntary separation in the late 1990s.
The retirees had engaged Lukona Chambers when they sued the Government over their benefits but Ms Mutti allegedly failed to give all the beneficiaries their money after the judgment went in their favour.
This was after she had won the case on behalf of the retirees and the Government recently started paying the pensioners through her law firm.
It is believed that the illegality was uncovered after the Government realised that some beneficiaries had not claimed their benefits.
Ms Mutti’s legal firm equally did not surrender the money back to the Government as per requirement by the law.
Voluntary Separation Association of Zambia (VSAZ) national secretary Syachoke Simeza, said Ms Mutti was not transparent in the manner she handled the payment to the retirees.
Meanwhile, LAZ confirmed that its disciplinary committee as well as the Legal Practitioners’ Committee was currently sitting to decide whether there was any professional misconduct by Ms Mutti.
It is the second time that LAZ is presiding over allegations against Ms Mutti after the association admonished her in 2009 for increasing the legal fees the retirees without consulting them.
Times of Zambia