News24 Wire
Wire Service
3 minute read
1 Nov 2019
10:16 pm

Law society to inspect Limpopo lawyer’s records after misconduct complaints

News24 Wire

The first complaint was by a member of the Bjatladi Communal Property Association, which is the beneficiary of the Zebediela Citrus Estate through the land reform programme.

Picture: iStock

The Law Society of the Northern Provinces has been given the go-ahead to inspect the accounting records of Polokwane attorney Tumi Mokwena following complaints of misconduct.

The go-ahead was granted after Mokwena failed to lodge a petition with the judge president of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) within the stipulated time for reconsideration and variation of the dismissal of his appeal against the Limpopo High Court order.

The High Court had earlier issued an order for the law society to inspect his accounting records as well as files belonging to his law firm.

The case has its origin in a complaint lodged with the law society by a member of the Bjatladi Communal Property Association (BCPA), which is the beneficiary of the Zebediela Citrus Estate through the land reform programme.

The complaint involves a R10m deposit into Mokwena’s trust account on behalf of the BCPA that is unaccounted for.

A company known as the Exotic Fruit Company also apparently deposited more than R28m through several payments into his trust account. This money, however, did not trickle down to the BCPA and also remains unaccounted for.

All this happened while Mokwena was running the affairs of the Zebediela Citrus Estate on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Mahlangu Attorneys also complained to the law society about a R150,000 deposit made into Mokwena’s account that is also unaccounted for.

Contacted on whether Mokwena will co-operate with the law society, his attorney, Floyd Legodi, did not want to delve into the case and accused News24 of “running a campaign”.

“You are running a campaign of which the end results will reveal itself,” Legodi said. “I have several cases that I’m dealing with and I cannot just comment on this one in a short space of time.”

The latest development comes at a time when Mokwena is fighting an application in the high court to have his law firm liquidated.

The application was brought by businessman Sthembiso Bethuel Bosch, a trustee of the Majola Trust, who deposited R1.5m and a further R150,000 into Mokwena’s trust account in 2014 for the purchase of a property that did not materialise.

In court papers, Bosch said: “As a consequence, the [Majola] trust, during 2014, instituted action against the first respondent [Tumi Mokwena Incorporated] for repayment of the money.

“The first respondent, despite initially advancing frivolous defences, must have realised that discretion was the better part of valour as a result of which on April 12, 2016, and at Polokwane, the [Majola] trust and first respondent [as represented by Mokwena] concluded a written agreement to settle the dispute.”

The agreement was later made an order of the court after Mokwena failed to make the repayments.

A warrant of execution was later issued, but the sheriff of the court returned with a nulla bona report. This meant that the sheriff did not find “sufficient attachable movable property to satisfy the judgment debt”.

However, Mokwena said in his answering affidavit that the money was meant for a new business venture with the applicants in the music industry through a company known as TM Performing Arts Management (Pty) Ltd.

He added the money was mistakenly deposited into his trust account and it was later transferred to another account.

“The funds in dispute do not concern any instructions in my capacity as director of TM Inc but relates to a failed bona fide business venture that I undertook in the music industry known as TM Performing Arts Management (Pty) Ltd.

“Unfortunately, this venture failed, resulting in losses for both the applicants and I as regards our respective investments.

“The applicants are disgruntled and have seemingly refused to accept the reality and initiated various litigation in an attempt to recover their losses from me whatever it takes, including dragging my good name and that of TM Inc through the dirt,” Mokwena said.

The case was postponed in the High Court to a date to be announced due to Mokwena’s late filing of his court papers.

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