Lawyer faces being struck off attorneys roll over R1.3m 'far-fetched' tale
A lawyer‚ who claimed he kept more than R1.3-million of a disabled client’s Road Accident Fund (RAF) claim payout because it had been lent to him‚ has been interdicted from practising as an attorney pending an application to strike him off the roll of attorneys.
Judge Judith Roberson‚ with Judge Jeremy Pickering agreeing‚ dismissed as “far-fetched and palpably implausible” Port Elizabeth attorney Shaun Masimla’s claim that his disabled client‚ Edison Cunningham‚ had lent him a big chunk of his R3.53m settlement from the RAF. He has acknowledged that he still owes Cunningham and his wife Berenice about R1.3m.
Roberson said the Cunningham couple at the time desperately needed the money as both were unemployed and Edison had been incapacitated in a serious car accident.
“The payments from the [RAF] would have been their means of survival. It is simply not credible that people in their position would part with such a large amount of money‚” Roberson said.
Masimla received large payments over some months from the RAF for the Cunningham couple. But instead of transferring the money to them as it was received‚ or even accounting to them for the amounts‚ he doled out small amounts to them for living and other expenses over three years.
Roberson said the only inference to be drawn from the interim payments was that he was using the money for his own purposes.
“He kept the Cunninghams on a string for three years with his false explanations about accounting to them when the matter was finalised‚” she said.