Accountant fined R100 000 for contempt of court

2018-03-27 16:21
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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A KwaZulu-Natal accountant and tax adviser has been slapped with a R100 000 contempt of court fine for refusing to say what happened to millions of rands paid out by the Road Accident Fund - which were under his control.

Kathigasen Ponnan Pillay was appointed as a curator by the office of the Master of the High Court to handle the financial affairs of 10 car crash survivors. Many of them were underprivileged and sickly and needed the money for medical care and their daily needs.

Last year, his mandate was taken away "for failing to account" for the money as is required by law.

Safire, the insurance company which provided suretyships for him, was informed by the Master that the loss could amount to as much as R15 million.

Safire made an application in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, accusing Pillay of refusing to provide any details of the individual bank accounts he was supposed to have opened for each patient and what money had been paid over to them.

Safire chief executive officer Pierre Bekker said in his affidavit that Pillay was also apparently ignoring requests from replacement curators for documented proof of what was done under his watch.

Bekker obtained an order in October last year that Pillay compelling Pillay to produce the documents, but he still failed to do so. Bekker then launched contempt of court proceedings.

In response, Pillay produced some documentation - believed to be inadequate - which the insurance company has been investigating.

When the contempt application came back to court on Tuesday, Pillay conceded he was in contempt, consenting to an order that he must pay R100 000 within seven days in order to avoid going to prison for six months.

He was also ordered to pay the insurance company's legal costs.

Last year, when News24 contacted the replacement curators they all told the same story: that Pillay was ignoring their requests for documents and that their clients were suffering.

Responding, Pillay claimed that he had accounted for every penny and the documents were with the Master's office.

Through his attorney at the time, he said he was shocked by the allegations against him.

He claimed that he had asked to be removed as curator because of ill-health and that that he was not forcibly removed.

Read more on:    road accident fund  |  durban  |  court

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