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Bhadresh Gohil: the lawyer Strive Masiyiwa ‘sent’ to prison

Derick Matsengarwodzi   HARARE – Sometimes, people that you trust can manipulate the law to their own advantage, according to evide...

Derick Matsengarwodzi
HARARE – Sometimes, people that you trust can manipulate the law to their own advantage, according to evidence provided by Strive Masiyiwa.

He revealed this on social media captured by Tinzwei, after a prominent London lawyer Bhadresh Gohil was sentenced to ten years in prison for conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to make false instruments, money laundering among other crimes.

And he cautions people to select guidance with caution saying, “when you choose financial or legal advisors choose very wisely. Your very life could depend on it.”

Corruption network
“Corruption often involves very sophisticated bankers and lawyers in Western financial centres. When corruption happens in any African country, it usually also happens at the same time with at least one accomplice in London or Geneva. Bhadresh Gohil is just one of scores of international advisors who handle the sophisticated movement of money around the world,” revealed Masiyiwa in his posts monitored by Tinzwei.

Soon, the entrepreneur became a state witness.

“When Mr Gohil and other family and associates of Delta State governor James Ibori were arrested in London, I was asked by the British government to be a state witness in their trial. I agreed without hesitation. Being a witness in such a case is not easy.

It meant that I had to stop working for several weeks and just focus on preparation to give evidence. I knew I would be grilled in an open court by expensive defence lawyers who would try to challenge my integrity. I was told that many potential witnesses had declined to give evidence in open court out of fear.”

The philanthropist observation that, “a witness can help ensure justice is done. Solid evidence is crucial in ensuring the truth is heard and that the rule of law is upheld. Without witness testimony, criminals can operate with impunity, one of the greatest threats to Africa’s future,” is often true.

What is impunity?
It basically means evil actions have no legal consequences. “As a result, criminals are allowed to stay busy committing their crimes, knowing they can get away with it without punishment,” explains the Econet boss.

“A culture of impunity endangers the prospects for prosperity and security in Africa in every imaginable way. Mr Ibori's wife, his sister, and his mistress, who each received money from the sale of the shares in V-Mobile were also arrested in London and were sentenced to five years in prison.”

His written witness statement were submitted and he was prepared to appear in court to be cross-examined, but a night before the trial Mr Gohil and his associates suddenly pleaded guilty because Masiyiwa’s statement was too strong and could have resulted in the accused getting stiffer sentences.

Justice at last
In late 2010, Mr Gohil was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison.
However, the rich always have a way out.

 “You were a solicitor of the Supreme Court and holding out as a man of integrity... You have brought shame on your family, your profession and your country. When corrupt people like this get into trouble, they often pay some of the best lawyers in the world,” the sentencing judge mentioned. 

Masiyiwa added: “Taking them on successfully requires authorities equally determined and sophisticated in their approach. These authorities in turn need the cooperation of witnesses prepared to stand in court and help with the prosecution.” – Tinzwei 

• This text cannot be reproduced without prior consultation with the author. Derick Matsengarwodzi is a communication consultant, author – and founder of The Aloe Media. Let’s interact on: Facebook or Follow me on: or

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