Joburg tries to recoup Pikitup R3m
ROUGHLY R3 million could be lost by the City of Joburg following revelations that lawyers, acting for it to recoup alleged stolen money, face disciplinary proceedings for supposed corruption.
The case involves Pikitup money which was allegedly stolen during the ANC administration pre-August 2016.
A senior city lawyer is facing disciplinary action by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP) for allegedly tampering with evidence by supposedly altering the affidavit of a key witness.
The LSNP has confirmed that Shamima Gaibie – who is a director at the Cheadle,
Thompson & Haysom (CTH) law firm – faces a complaint which was launched against her by former Pikitup general manager, Donovan Denyssen.
The Star has seen e-mail correspondence between Gaibie and senior executives at Pikitup, where the lawyer seemingly asks the executives whether a key witness in a legal matter between the entity and Denyssen doesn’t want to tailor his evidence.
Denyssen, in his complaint, believes this alleged tailoring of evidence to be grossly improper and designed to influence the
arbitration negatively him and Pikitup.
The complaint comes in the wake of CTH representing Pikitup in a matter between the entity and Amanda Nair. Nair is the former managing director of Pikitup, where the entity seeks to recoup R2 969 489.90 from its former MD for alleged liability “in respect of 12 separate claims in various sums together with interest and cost”.
This is according to high court documents, seen by The Star.
When contacted for comment, Gaibie said she knew nothing
about the complaint and had yet to receive notification from the LSNP. But when The Star alerted her to the e-mail correspondence, which forms the basis to the complaint against her, Gaibie said she was aware of the messages.
“He tried to use these documents in the arbitration and he was prevented from using them because they fall into the category of legal privilege,” Gaibie said.
However, Boitumelo Komako, an official in the LSNP’s disciplinary department, confirmed to The Star that a copy of the
complaint had been sent to Gaibie last month.
“The complaint was sent to the attorney (Gaibie) and we are still waiting for her response. We usually grant the attorneys about 30 days to respond, so she has been given until May 14 to respond,” Komako said, adding disciplinary proceedings would only be instituted after Gaibie submitted her responses, and the investigating committee assessed the complaint.
Nair said she would await the conclusion of the LSNP process against Gaibie to gauge whether
she has been prejudiced in the matter launched against her by Pikitup.
She did not rule out launching legal action against the law firm to quash the case against her, as she feels the firm was highly conflicted in this process.
Pikitup chairperson Bheki Shongwe and mayoral spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka said they were unaware of the complaint against their lawyers.
Pikitup spokesperson Muzi Mkhwanazi said: “Pikitup is not aware about the complaint or its nature. Therefore, Pikitup cannot comment on the impact or lack thereof on the litigation involving CTH. Pikitup will engage CTH to establish the facts around the complaint.”