Attorney in the dock for stealing R1.8m RAF payout owed to client

Mantladi Jo-Anne Mmela, a Mpumalanga lawyer who stole a client’s Road Accident Fund (RAF) payout of R1.8 million, appeared at the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

According to Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, the 41-year-old was arrested by the Middelburg-based Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit on Tuesday.

In May 2021, the complainant hired Mmela and Associates Inc in Middelburg to fast-track the process of claiming the funds on behalf of his minor child who died.

“The amount of R1.8 million was paid into the trust account of Mmela and Associates Inc. The attorney did not pay out the money received to the client; instead she created a false reference as if the money was paid over to the complainant,” said Sekgotodi.

Mmela then informed her client that the money was transferred to the trust account. After he enquired about the money, Mmela allegedly promised to pay it but instead fled to Pretoria.

“The matter was reported to the Hawks in January 2022 for further probe. During the investigation, it was revealed that the attorney transferred the money into another bank account. A warrant of arrest was authorised and executed hence her arrest from her hiding place in Pretoria.”

“The accused was released on R25 000 bail on condition that she hand over her travelling documents. The case was postponed to 5 December 2022 for possible pre-trial and representation hearing.”

Compiled by Siphumelele Khumalo

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