Fugitive who worked as magistrate while on the run is at large again

A thieving magistrate who went on the run for two years before eventually being nabbed in Port Elizabeth last month‚ has once again absconded – this time as she was due to be sentenced.

A warrant of arrest was issued on Monday for Pumla Silinga‚ 47‚ of Walmer‚ after she failed to arrive at the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court.

A warrant was initially issued for her arrest in March 2014 after she failed to appear for trial.

She was eventually arrested last month and pleaded guilty to stealing R95 000 held in trust while she worked as a director of Silinga Attorneys in Port Elizabeth.

The funds were meant for the transfer of a client’s property.

She also pleaded guilty to a charge of contempt of court.

It then emerged in court that Silinga had been acting as a magistrate in Mthatha while on the run.

Following her conviction on April 13‚ she was again released on warning‚ despite the prosecution’s fears that she might flee again.

When her case was called for argument ahead of sentencing on Monday‚ state advocate Bongo Mvinjelwa said Silinga was on the run again.

He said her lawyer‚ advocate Sazi Nyati‚ had also withdrawn because he could not trace her.

In a letter addressed to the state‚ Nyati said: “I wish to advise that I have withdrawn as counsel for Mrs Pumla Silinga as I have lost contact with her.

“I have done everything within my power to see to it that we meet so as to work together to have the matter finalised.

“However‚ my efforts have been in vain.”

Following Silinga’s conviction‚ Department of Justice spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga confirmed her employment had been terminated.

Mhaga said she had also been reported to the Magistrate’s Commission to investigate how she had secured a spot on the bench despite having her membership of the Cape Law Society suspended.

In pleading guilty last month‚ Silinga told the court she had borrowed the money to pay her mother’s medical bills.

 

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