Financial misconduct costs Eastern Cape lawyer his robes
Eastern Cape lawyer Mzwabantu Majola has lost his robes after three complaints about his conduct.
The Legal Practice Council (LPC) launched an application to have Majola barred from the profession and the high court in Makhanda delivered the judgment this week.
The LPC’s predecessor, the Cape Law Society, received two complaints about Majola in 2014. In one case, Majola acted as a seller of an immovable property that the complainant sought to buy and R1.35m was paid to him. The sale was cancelled but Majola did not return the money despite “repeated demands”.
In another case, Majola assisted a property owner with the sale and transfer of a residential property and R250,000 was paid into his account. But he “only tendered payment of part of the amount being R80,000”.
Another complaint was lodged against Majola in 2017. He was involved in a R2.1m property sale and he sent the seller of the property a statement reflecting two payments — R400,000 and R1.624m. But the seller received only R400,000.
Three cheques the attorney deposited into the seller’s account were rejected by the bank. It was later established that Majola’s business account had a balance in excess of R1.7m. The money owed to the property seller was paid from the account when it was attached.
The LPC said Majola “abused his position as an attorney to enrich himself. By so doing he made himself guilty of dishonourable and disgraceful conduct. He is not a fit and proper person to practise as an attorney of this court.”
Majola admitted his firm handled the transactions which gave rise to the three complaints. But he denied he is not a fit and proper person to practise as an attorney. He also denied any wrongdoing but the court did not buy his story.
“Much as it is unfortunate to cut short a person’s chosen vocation, in respect of which it took many years of study and resources to achieve, it is in the interest of the public that the erosion of professional ethics or unethical, unbecoming conduct be nipped in the bud,” said Judge Nomathamsanqa Beshe.
“In my view, the only sanction that is appropriate is that of striking the respondent’s name from the roll of attorneys.”