Lawyer cuts deal to pay back RAF millions

A PRETORIA lawyer accused of defrauding the Roads Accident Fund of R6-million has pleaded guilty to the crime and agreed to pay the money back.

Hendrick Molefe, of Moreleta Park, who practises as an attorney under the name BH Molefe Attorneys, was fined R50,000 or three years' imprisonment for fraud.

He was also sentenced to six years' imprisonment, suspended for five years on condition that he is not found guilty of similar offences for the duration of his suspended sentence.

Molefe was arrested in January after a RAF investigation found that he had exaggerated the number of accident victims.

He was arrested with five other attorneys - DS Selahle, AS Mathumo, MP Phooko, SB Mabena and M Ramafolo - and tout Sello Moche and medical doctor Lebogang Mosweu.

But charges against the five attorneys, who had commissioned claimants, were withdrawn due to a lack of evidence.

The trial against Mosweu and Moche was separated from that of Molefe and will be heard next month.

Just a few months after the RAF paid Molefe R6-million for 98 claims from a bus accident, it was discovered that the accident had in fact involved only 30 people.

The claims were submitted last year after a Botlhaba Tshwane Transport bus overturned and 30 people approached Molefe's law firm to help them claim monies for injuries sustained.

The claimants apparently had consulted Mosweu and the claims were submitted by Molefe, but affidavits of the respective claimants were commissioned by five other lawyers.

It is alleged third party claims lodged were referred to Mosweu, who provided medical certificates for claimants he had not physically examined.

Speaking through his lawyer Simon Tlhatlha, Mosweu said the fact that Molefe had taken full responsibility for the crimes proved that he was innocent.

"My client was really shocked when police came to him and said he was part of the scam ... just like other attorneys whose cases were withdrawn, my client is a victim of this scam," said Tlhatlha.

Mosweu denied any wrongdoing yesterday, and insisted that he was not aware that fraud was taking place when Molefe asked him to examine his clients.

The Health Professions Council of SA said allegations levelled against Mosweu "were alarming and in breach of the council's ethical rules".

The council's chief executive, Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba, said they would investigate the claims to determine whether there was any unprofessional conduct on the part of Mosweu.

"We will be contacting RAF in this regard and we will take it from there," said Mjamba-Matshoba.