__”The time is always right to do what is right.”
By Dr. Strive Masiyiwa
I may have shared this story before with some of you: Many years ago, I was giving evidence in a hearing over a dispute with a partner. The hearing was taking place before an arbitrator in London. As a requirement of the arbitration process, before the hearing each party had to disclose all documents (including all correspondence) over the course of the relationship.
One evening during my three-day cross-examination, as I was preparing for the next day, I came across an email written by one of my staff which completely contradicted and undermined everything I’d been saying. It was very damaging for our case. No one had seen this email, and it had never been disclosed.
I discussed the email with a lawyer on my team. He just shook his head and said, “If that email emerges, our case is gone. We will lose.”
Our dilemma was compounded by the fact that our partners hadn’t disclosed many documents that we required, and that we knew they had. They openly lied to the judge, saying the documents did not exist. If we lost the case, we would immediately lose $15m. And that was a lot of money for us in those days.
What was I to do?
That evening I knelt down and prayed. Then I went to bed.
The following morning, I returned to the stand but before I could start, my lawyers asked the judge for an opportunity to speak:
“My client came across some documents last night which had not previously been disclosed.”
And with that he handed him the file with the email in it. The judge read it carefully, then handed it to the other side. Their lead advocate who had been aggressively cross-examining me, read it, and looked at me.
When we resumed, the advocate for the other side did not raise the email, and its contents. I noticed that his entire tone and attitude had changed — he was more respectful than before.
The judge then adjourned the case to allow him a few weeks to consider the case.
A few weeks after the hearing closed, but before we had a ruling, the lawyers of the other side called our lawyers saying: “Our client would like to settle this case, before the judge issues his ruling.”
And with that they offered to pay us the money we had been asking for.
To this day, I don’t know what happened on the other side that prompted them to settle, but on my part, that’s when I first coined the phrase:
“I would rather lose believing God was with me, than win knowing He was not.”
The great civil rights leader, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Whilst the story I have just told is an extreme example, be assured that every day of your life you will have your integrity tested. Much of the time it is very small things that are almost unnoticeable, but at others, it will require every ounce of your integrity and courage.