Mpumalanga – Lawyer Mantladi Jo-Anne Mmela accused of swindling a client of a Road Accident Fund (RAF) payout of nearly two million rand has been released on bail.
The 41-year-old accused appeared before the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday (21 September 2022).
The lawyer, who had been arrested a day earlier by the Hawks, is accused of fraud and theft of a client’s compensation payment from the RAF.
It is alleged that during May 2021, the complainant in the matter appointed Mmela and Associates Inc in Middelburg to assist in claiming compensation from the RAF on behalf of his minor child.
The minor had been in a serious accident.
Lawyer Mmela successfully claimed R1.8 million on behalf of the complainant.
On 8 May 2022, the RAF paid the money into the trust account of Mmela and Associates Inc.
Allegations are that the lawyer did not pay out the money received to the client.
To cover up the crime the lawyer allegedly created a false reference in her books to give the impression the money was paid over to the complainant.
When the complainant became aware that the RAF had deposited the compensation money into the lawyer’s trust account, he began demanding that it be handed over to him.
Lawyer Mmela promised that she would pay the money she received from the RAF to the complainant but she did not do so and instead moved from Pretoria.
In January this year, the complainant reported the matter to the police, which was then probed by the Hawks.
During the investigation, it was revealed that the attorney had transferred the money in question into another bank account.
Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said the accused was arrested in Pretoria.
On Wednesday, Lawyer Mmela was released on R25 000 bail on the condition that she hands over her passport.
The case was postponed to 5 December 2022.