Controversial Eastern Cape lawyer nabbed for alleged RAF fraud

13 February 2019 - 21:15
Hawks national spokesman, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi has confirmed the arrest.
Image: SUHAIB SALEM Hawks national spokesman, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi has confirmed the arrest.

One of the Eastern Cape's most controversial lawyers - who has been involved in a number of medico-legal and Road Accident Fund cases - has been arrested.

The lawyer, known to TimesLIVE, was arrested in Mthatha on Wednesday evening by a Hawks team lead by national investigators. The lawyer cannot be named until he appears in the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

National Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed the arrest.

“We can confirm that we have arrested a 46-year-old lawyer in Mthatha ... [he] is expected to appear in the local court tomorrow [Thursday] morning,” said Mulaudzi on Wednesday.

Mulaudzi would not say what charges - or how many charges - the 46-year-old lawyer faced. TimesLIVE, however, understands the man is facing fraud charges.

The lawyer was arrested at an Mthatha hotel on Wednesday. It is understood that the Special Investigating Unit has been working with police in the case, probing hospital negligence claims in which the lawyer has been involved. 

Some of the claims are believed to have been false, and in a number of cases the department of health in the Eastern Cape has to pay out for those false claims. Many of the beneficiaries had to fight tooth and nail to get their money, and were apparently overcharged by the lawyer.

A health department official, who wanted to remain anonymous, told TimesLIVE: “The cases with him involved millions of rands, and we suspect that his arrest will lead to a number of other staff who helped him ... being arrested.”

In 2017 the lawyer effectively conceded in court that he overcharged a severely disabled client to the tune of over R4m, which he later agreed to pay back. In this case the lawyer took took R5.7m of his client’s R9.1m, which was paid out by the health department and the Road Accident Fund (RAF) in two separate claims.

A report by Daily Dispatch said it took over three years of threats, reports to the Law Society and expensive high court litigation to get the lawyer to pay his paraplegic former client.

The lawyer charged the client some 62% of his client’s damages awards, an act considered unlawful.

In a separate case in 2016, in which another client tried to recover money from the lawyer in question, the Grahamstown High Court heard that the lawyer took 80% of a client’s R1.1m RAF settlement, which was intended to help her care for her severely brain damaged child. He billed her R950,000 for his services and gave her a cheque for R195,000.

The Sunday Times reported in 2016 that the Hawks­ ­­,­in conjunction with the police’s Commercial Crimes Unit‚ were investigating 31 complaints‚ worth a staggering R27m‚ by former clients of the same lawyer.