Judge’s alleged lying in court

2011-10-01 16:57

A North Gauteng High Court judge has ordered a high-level probe into Nano Matlala, a co-chairperson of the Law Society of South Africa, for allegedly lying to court.

Judge Brian Southwood last week referred his judgment to the Law Society of the Northern Province’s president, Tony Thobane, to investigate Matlala’s conduct in the sale of a property.

Matlala is also the president of the Black Lawyers Association and a senior partner at Tshwane-based law firm Maluleke Seriti Makume & Matlala Inc.

Southwood’s complaint relates to Matlala’s appointment as the trustee of an insolvent estate. Matlala denies lying in court.

In March 2009, a property belonging to Amos and Anna Ndlovu was sold on auction for R761 000 after the owners failed to keep up their monthly repayments.

The house was bought by Sivaprakash Naidoo and Irooshka Govinsamy. The Ndlovus later agreed to rent the property for R9?000 a month from Naidoo and Govinsamy.

In July 2009, Matlala was appointed trustee of the Ndlovus’ insolvent estate.

As the property was not yet formally transferred to the new owners, Matlala informed Naidoo and Govinsamy that he would still entertain higher offers for the house.

The owners took exception to Matlala’s approach and went to court to have their ownership of the house confirmed.
In court, Matlala claimed to have received a offer of R1.1 million for the house from a private company, but refused to identify the potential buyer.

Matlala showed City Press an undated offer to purchase the property. “I was not untruthful in any manner in the evidence I presented before court,” he said.

The court found the house was worth R1.2 million and set aside Matlala’s appointment as trustee. Matlala says he will appeal the judgment.

Jaco Fourie, a senior officer at the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, said their disciplinary department is obliged to investigate the matter.

“We have to comply with the rules of natural justice by giving the attorneys concerned an opportunity to respond to the allegations contained in the judgment,” said Fourie.

Matlala will be given three weeks to respond to the complaint and then the law society will decide if there are sufficient causes to prosecute.

“If we’re satisfied that a prima facie case has been made out, the attorneys will receive a charge sheet,” Fourie said.

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