Court freezes EL lawyer’s assets over R2.1m debt

The Grahamstown High Court has provisionally frozen Komani attorney Mzwandile Bobotyana’s assets.

Bobotyana stands accused of defrauding a client out of R2.1-million.

The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) provisionally froze his assets pending the finalisation of confiscation and criminal proceedings against him.

Bobotyana, 51, from East London, is also facing criminal charges for allegedly defrauding businessman Afzal Mohammad out of R2.1-million in an illicit house sale.

His assets have, in the meantime, been surrendered and placed under the control of a curator.

This was confirmed yesterday by Grahamstown attorney Marius Wolmarans, who is instructed by the NDPP.

Assets listed include property in NU3 Mdantsane, Ukhozi Crescent in East London and three vehicles, as well as shares or equity in four other luxury vehicles.

East London deputy director of public prosecutions Nicole Peters, who is attached to the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), said in an affidavit in support of the provisional order that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Bobotyana’s assets would be confiscated in due course.

The house sale Bobotyana is alleged to have fraudulently conducted is for the historic Lady Frere home belonging to Barbara Canady-Masimini, the widow of the late Transkei homeland politician Ngqondi Lesley Masimini.

In 2007, Canady-Masimini appointed Bobotyana’s firm of attorneys to deal with her late husband’s assets, including the house. In 2015 she revoked his power of attorney.

Peters says that despite this, Bobotyana sought to sell the property to an unsuspecting Mohammad for R2.1-million. Mohammad paid the full amount but the transfer of the house never took place.

Peters says an analysis of Bobotyana’s firm account showed that the day before Mohammad deposited the massive amount in Bobotyana’s trust account it had just R27 in it.

Within days of receiving the money he paid R40000 to Wesbank for his cars and R13000 to a relative, and withdrew about R200000 cash.

He forked out a further R1.8-million in internet payments to various unknown entities.

By the end of August his firm’s trust account was back down to R81.

Peters says it is clear that Bobotyana benefited to the tune of R2.1-million from unlawful activities.

The trial is reportedly set to proceed on March 30.

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