191 new advocates miss swearing- in
The Kigali Bar Association, an umbrella association of practicing lawyers is currently embroiled in internal leadership wrangles, with a section of members plotting to topple Vincent Karangwa, the president of the association.
According to a source, who is also a member of the Association’s Governing Council, members want Karangwa ousted on the grounds that he has financial woes that are tarnishing the association’s image.
“He has unpaid loans from a bank that he has failed to pay up to now. This doesn’t match our code of conduct and that is why we have always wanted him to quit,” said the source, who declined to be named because he isn’t authorized to speak for the association.
Efforts to relieve Karangwa of his duties hit a snag end February after the High Court rejected the reasons advanced by the governing council for his sacking and reinstated him as President.
According to the source, this has affected the financial credibility of the Association. The bar, has approached banks to get financing to purchase their office building, however, with Karangwa’s alleged default on the loan, the banks are not willing to give the association money if he is a signatory.
“We have only paid Rwf 40million out of Rwf 215m we are required to pay for the house. So, we need to clear the balance,” the source added.
Karangwa dismissed the allegations, arguing that the bank from which he took the loan has never taken him to court for non-payment.
“I have a guarantee for the loan I took and I have never failed to pay it back. I took that loan like any other person, and I will actually take another one when I deem it necessary,” he said.
Meanwhile, 191 lawyers scheduled to swear in last Thursday, a condition, prior to joining the bar association, will have to wait a little longer. The High Court said that the Association’s Governing Council did not fulfill all the requirements.
According to a letter dated March 10, the High Court requested the Governing Council to submit minutes of the meeting that approved the new advocates before the swearing in ceremony can go ahead.
However, the Kigali Bar Association told the High Court that the minutes are not available because the Association’s secretary was out of the country.