South Africa: Malema's Former Lawyer's Firm Under Liquidation

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12 December 2019

The firm of prominent Polokwane lawyer Tumi Mokwena, who represented EFF leader Julius Malema at one stage, has been placed under liquidation following a Limpopo High Court order on Thursday.

This comes after Judge Frans Kgomo rejected Mokwena's application for the condonation of the late filing of court papers in the matter.

Neither Mokwena, nor his attorney, Floyd Legodi, were in court. Legodi filed a notice of withdrawal earlier on Thursday.

Issuing the order, Kgomo said the applicant made out a prima facie case: "This is a long-standing matter spanning seven years.

"I've read the papers of the applicants and they advanced reasons. The respondent is aware of this date and the notice of withdrawal as attorney of record was filed this morning.

"I'm convinced and satisfied that the applicant has made a case for liquidation," Kgomo said.

Mokwena, who is Malema's former lawyer, has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with local businessman Sthembiso Bethuel Bosch, also known as "Steve Bosch".

In court papers, Bosch said he deposited R1.5m on behalf of the Majola Trust, of which he is a trustee, into Mokwena's law firm's trust account in 2014 for a property transaction which did not materialise.

"When called upon to pay back the monies, first respondent, represented by Mokwena, did or could not do so.

"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 12 April 2016 and at Polokwane, the trust (represented by me) and first respondent (represented by Mokwena) concluded a written agreement to settle the dispute of the 2014 action," Bosch said.

The agreement was later made an order of court. However, Mokwena did not keep up with the payments.

A warrant of execution was later issued but the sheriff of the court returned with a nulla bona certificate, which Mokwena personally signed. This meant that the sheriff could not find sufficient attachable movable property to satisfy the judgment debt.

But Mokwena, in his answering affidavit, contended that the R1.5m was not paid into the trust account of his law firm within the context of an attorney-client relationship.

"These funds were paid for an unrelated business venture which has nothing to do with my profession as an attorney or TM Inc. The applicants obtained the details of the TM Inc trust account as they were regular clients," Mokwena said.

The Limpopo High Court recently ordered Mokwena to subject all his law firm's accounting books to the Law Society of the Northern Provinces for inspection.

His attempt to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein failed.

Source: News24

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