Money goes missing

THE Hlatswayo heirs are battling to track down the person who fraudulently cashed a cheque posted to their mother five months after her death.

THE Hlatswayo heirs are battling to track down the person who fraudulently cashed a cheque posted to their mother five months after her death.

They also blame their attorney, Chueu Chuene Attorneys, for making it easy for their parent's money to disappear by not following their instructions.

Absa is also investigating whose account the money was deposited into and whether it can compensate the family after R75308 was fraudulently withdrawn three years ago.

Hlanganani Hlatshwayo's ordeal began on April 17 2003 when his father Mbenyula was killed in a motor accident.

His mother Nkosingiphile, now also deceased, approached Chueu and Chuene Attorneys to help her lodge an accident claim with the Road Accident Fund (RAF) in 2003.

The RAF awarded them R88564, which was deposited into the attorney's trust account on April 20 2006.

"But before my mother received the good news she passed away," Hlatshwayo said.

His mother died in May 2006 and Hlatshwayo claims they notified the attorneys about her death after she was buried.

They were advised to appoint an executor for his mother's estate through a magistrate's court and to fax an affidavit about their mother's death to their offices, he said.

They did so, he said.

"My grandmother was appointed executor and the guardian of my young siblings," Hlatshwayo said.

After sending the required documents to Chuene he promised to visit them to discuss their needs and the manner in which the funds would be distributed, he said.

A few months later Chuene called for directions to their house at Mtubatuba, but did not show up after confirming he was on his way to their home, he said.

"Chuene called later to say he got lost and after a long search decided to go back to Joburg since he had other pressing engagements," he said.

Hlatshwayo said that that was the end of his communication from the lawyer.

"He never came back, called or wrote to us," Hlatshwayo said.

Determined to establish why the attorney had abandoned them, he went to the RAF to find out when exactly payment would be made. He discovered that R88564 had already been paid out.

He called Chuene, who allegedly told him R75308 was deposited into his late mother's First National Bank account in November 2006, he said.

To prove this Chuene faxed a cashed cheque that was issued in my mother's name.

The copy of a cheque in Sowetan's possession does not clearly show where it was cashed since the stamp is invisible.

When he checked his mother's account, no cheque of R75308 was deposited or returned to the drawer in or around November 2006, Hlatshwayo said.

He said Chuene made out the cheque to his mother though the lawyer knew his mother had died six months earlier. This was contrary to their instruction, he said.

Chuene's letter that he was waiting for the bank to check into which account the cheque was deposited was another delaying tactic, Hlatshwayo said.

"We have not heard from him since August last year," he said.

Hlatshwayo said he could not understand why Chuene told them he had deposited the cheque into his mother's account and then expected the bank to tell him into which account it was deposited.

"He must have kept the deposit slip in his file. Had he transferred the money into my granny's account as agreed, he would have peace of mind," Hlatshwayo said.

"My mother's bank statement did not reflect a deposit of their payment," he said.

His siblings, who are still of school-going, age, depend on their grandmother's government pension.

Chuene has no recollection of this transaction and no proof of payment. He said the matter was with the police and he does not know why it had taken a year to investigate. Deon Oosthuizen of Absa said they were investigating.