Court orders Malema's lawyer to hand over his trust accounts for inspection

2019-03-28 06:10
Polokwane lawyer Tumi Mokwena

Polokwane lawyer Tumi Mokwena

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Prominent Polokwane lawyer Tumi Mokwena, who has represented EFF leader Julius Malema, has to make available for inspection all trust accounts and books relating to his practice to the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.

This is part of an order granted in the Limpopo High Court.

The order also compels Mokwena and his partner, Floyd Legodi, to hand over complete files relating to instructions they handled on behalf of clients.

Mokwena confirmed the existence of the court order, which News24 has seen.

But he said it hasn't been implemented yet because he has taken the matter further to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein.

"The matter is sub judice. I won't comment much on it," Mokwena said.

Zebediela Citrus Estate 

The matter dates back to 2015 when the Law Society received a complaint about Mokwena over his involvement in the Zebediela Citrus Estate in Limpopo.

The estate – once the largest producer of oranges and lemons in the southern hemisphere – was returned to the Bjatladi communal property association (CPA) under the land restitution programme.

The CPA hired Mokwena's services to assist them to terminate the contract with the strategic partner at the estate.

According to the allegations against him, Mokwena initially charged the CPA R200 000 legal fees but later asked them to deposit R2.5m plus another R1.8m into his trust account.

When the civil case was under way, two senior executives of the strategic partner had criminal charges laid against them and they were arrested for exporting the produce when it had citrus black spot.

However, a settlement agreement was reached, which was endorsed by the Limpopo High Court. It entailed that the civil and criminal cases would be dropped and the strategic partner would pay R10m to the CPA via Mokwena's trust account.

Mokwena allegedly failed to transfer the money to the CPA.

On March 23, 2016, Mokwena introduced himself to the workers of the estate as the managing director and his partner, Legodi, as the company secretary.

Mokwena then went to Cape Town and entered into a sale crop agreement with a company known as Exotic Fruit to the value of R67m without the full knowledge of land beneficiaries. In terms of the agreement, the money had to be paid into Mokwena's trust account.

Complaint

The complaint to the Law Society read in part: "It is with all these in mind that we approach your good office for a thorough investigation on Tumi Mokwena and Floyd Legodi so that you can help us to remove them from the farm.

"But if possible, can you help us with a thorough forensic audit to establish as to how much money due to Zebediela Citrus Estate was paid to Tumi Mokwena and Floyd Legodi and how that money can be recuperated."

The complaint laid the basis for the Law Society decision to approach the compel Mokwena to make available all the accounting records.

Mokwena was recently acquitted of attempted murder in the same court.

This was after he opened fire on a group of disillusioned workers at the estate. The court found that he had acted in self-defence.      

READ: Malema lawyer Tumi Mokwena acquitted of attempted murder - reports

Read more on:    tumi mokwena  |  polokwane  |  judiciary  |  courts
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