Prominent Lusaka lawyer Nellie Mutti has been arrested and charged with 33 counts relating to theft and forgery in connection the payment of more than K35 million to former government employees.
Ms Mutti of Lukona Chambers was arrested in Lusaka today but released on police bond waiting for court appearance on March 23, 2014.
Assistant police spokesperson, Rae Hamoonga confirmed in an interview in Lusaka today that Ms Mutti had been charged with forgery contrary to section 342 of the Laws of Zambia.
“She has also been charged with uttering of a contract as well as 31 counts relating to theft which is contrary to section 272 of the Laws of Zambia,” Mr Hamoonga said.
The arrest of Ms Mutti comes barely weeks after the police recorded a warn and caution statement from the legal practitioner after being accused of stealing more than K35,951,705.08.
The money was part of the Government release for 3,523 retirees that left their employment under the voluntary separation in late 1990s.
Ms Mutti represented the 3,523 retirees under the Voluntary Separation Association of Zambia (VSAZ) in a long protracted legal battle to claim the pensioners’ benefits.
She won the case on behalf of the retirees and the government recently started paying the pensioners’ through her law firm.
However, it is alleged that 751 former retirees could not claim their benefits and Ms Mutti pocketed all the money instead of returning it to Government.
Ms Mutti has also been dragged to court by the former civil servants who are now demanding for a refund after accusing the legal practitioner of making irregular deductions from their money.
According to the claim, the deductions by Ms Mutti were in three categories namely, 10 per cent legal fees, 10 per cent handling fees and 16 per cent VAT.
The deductions were made from the K468,161,166.23 that was released by the government for the retirees through Lukona Chambers after they had a 2002 judgment that went in their favour.
The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) said recently that its disciplinary committee as well as the Legal Practitioners’ Committee were currently sitting to decide whether there was any professional misconduct by Ms Mutti over the same matter.