SCA dismisses lawyer Tumi Mokwena's application to stop inspection of trust funds, books

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Prominent lawyer Tumi Mokwena when he was acquitted of attempted murder charges.
Prominent lawyer Tumi Mokwena when he was acquitted of attempted murder charges.
Gallo
  • The SCA has dismissed Limpopo lawyer Tumi Mokwena's bid to stop his practice's trust accounts and books from being inspected. 
  • The court said Mokwena failed to provide exceptional circumstances.
  • It is unclear whether Mokwena will be taking his application to a higher court. 


The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has dismissed with costs an application by prominent Limpopo-based lawyer Tumi Mokwena to stop the Law Society of the Northern Provinces from inspecting all trust accounts and books relating to his practice.

Mokwena approached the SCA after his appeal against a Limpopo High Court order to open his files for inspection was dismissed last year.

He applied to the SCA for reconsideration or variation of the decision.

The SCA has now found that Mokwena, in his application, failed to provide exceptional circumstances.

Judge Mandisa Maya, president of the SCA, said: "The application in terms of S17(2)(f) of Act 10 of 2013 is dismissed with costs for the reason that no exceptional circumstances warranting reconsideration or variation of the decision refusing the application for leave to appeal have been established."

The matter originates from a complaint lodged with the law society by a member of the Bjatladi Communal Property Association, which is the beneficiary of the Zebediela Citrus Estate through the land reform programme.

Complaint about R10 million deposit, further R28 million

The complaint involved R10 million deposited into Mokwena's law firm trust account and a further R28 million made available through several payments by Exotic Fruit Company. All the money remains unaccounted for.

This happened when Mokwena was running the affairs of the citrus estate on behalf of the communal property association.

It was at the same estate where he allegedly fired several shots at disgruntled workers. However, he was later acquitted of attempted murder charges.

Mokwena did not respond to several phone calls and messages to find out if he would approach a higher court or would comply with the court order.

The law society has indicated it has instructed its audit department to commence with the inspection of the law firm's accounts and books.

Mokwena is also facing an application for liquidation brought by local businessman Sthembiso Bethuel Bosch in the Limpopo High Court.

Bosch apparently deposited R1.5 million and a further R150 000 into Mokwena's trust account for the purchase of a property that did not materialise.

Mokwena is opposing the application.

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