The Department of Justice has dismissed Bina Masuku from its employ after it emerged last week that she had posed as an advocate, was appointed Master of the High Court in Mpumalanga and then allegedly stole more than R1.7m of claimants’ money.
In a statement on Tuesday, department spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said her dismissal came into effect on November 8 – a day after she was arrested by the Hawks for allegedly stealing the money.
Masuku appeared in court alongside lawyer Pule Elvis Kgosiemang who is believed to be her boyfriend.
The investigation into the two started in early 2019 when it was discovered they had allegedly stolen more than R1.7m in two years from claimants via the Masters trust account, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said at the time of their arrest.
The Hawks also discovered that, not only was Masuku not a South African national, but she had submitted false documents to the department when applying for a job.
Masuku, who is Malawian, was suspended in June when she tried to interfere with the Hawks investigation.
A disciplinary hearing was conducted by the department which moved to dismiss her.
Kgosiemang and Masuku appeared in the Mpumalanga Magistrate’s Court on Monday and their case was postponed to Wednesday to allow for their legal representative to prepare for their bail application.
They were remanded in custody.
The purpose of the Master of the High Court is to safeguard financial and proprietary rights of beneficiaries and to protect the financial interest of persons whose assets or interests are for various reasons managed by others.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said he was “disturbed that a person who was entrusted with responsibilities of the office of the Master of the High Court was arrested over serious allegations of defrauding the public for self-enrichment”.
“We expect officials to act with due diligence and impartiality when they work with the estates of deceased persons as beneficiaries look up to the Master of the High Court to assist them to access due benefits.
“When our officials choose to engage in acts of corruption when executing their mandate, we will not hesitate to punish them for such conduct,” said Lamola.