State attorney suspended over graft allegations

THE Limpopo hight court has been rocked by allegations of fraud and corruption.

THE Limpopo hight court has been rocked by allegations of fraud and corruption.

A state attorney and his secretary have been suspended on allegations that they colluded with lawyers to overcharge the government for services rendered on behalf of the state.

The two, state attorney Nkhumeleni Nefale and his secretary Stella Thobakgale, are alleged to have received kickbacks from the lawyers.

They allegedly "preferred to engage the same lawyers" to defend the state in court cases.

A forensic investigation by the department of Justice and Constitutional Development found that the pair did not follow procedure in hiring private attorneys.

Justice department spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed the suspensions.

He said the two were suspended for misconduct.

"Allegations are that the state attorney acted individually or in concert with others, paid or made it possible for certain attorneys to be paid money which was not legally due to them," Tlali said.

The suspensions are likely to open a can of worms in the legal fraternity, with some lawyers appealing to Sowetan yesterday not to publish the story.

It is believed that more than R1million might have been lost because of the allegedly illegal transactions.

The two officials are to appear before a disciplinary hearing soon.

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