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Attorney sentenced to ten years in jail for R1.8 million theft

The attorney stole trust fund money that was supposed to be paid to his clients who had sold their properties.

traffic corruption

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The Mthatha Regional Court has sentenced attorney, Sandile Majavu, to an effective ten-year jail term for stealing more than R1,8 million from his clients.

Majavu, 43, who was an attorney practicing in the Mthatha district, was convicted in October last year after pleading guilty to four counts of theft. He admitted to having used funds deposited by prospective property buyers into two trust accounts he held, for his own personal benefit.

NPA regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said that Majavu, as the attorney, was the sole signatory to the trust accounts, and was legally obliged not to utilise any portion of the funds held in the trust accounts until such time that the transfer of the properties had been completed and duly registered, whereupon the money was to be paid to the sellers.

“However, in October 2011 a purchaser of property approached Sandile Majavu Incorporated for assistance with the sale and transfer of the property. The buyer deposited R400 000 into his business account.  She further deposited R9000 towards the same transaction in the same month of October 2011,” Tyali said.

“In December 2011, another client who intended buying a property deposited R305 000 followed by another one who deposited R1,1 million towards the purchase of a property.  All the deposited funds never reached the sellers as Majavu misappropriated the money for his own personal use,” Tyali said.

The court sentenced the attorney to ten years imprisonment in relation to the charge of theft of R1,1 million and sentenced him to five years for each of the other counts relating to the other amounts.  The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently with the ten-year sentence.

Senior State Advocate, Mthuthuzeli Rangula had asked the court to hand down a sentence of 15 years, as prescribed for theft exceeding R500 000. However, Magistrate, Sizakele Sihlahla found that there were compelling circumstances justifying deviation. These included that the attorney had pleaded guilty, which was a show of remorse and the fact that he was suffering from a chronic medical condition.