Attorney struck off roll for trust fund theft
A WELL KNOWN Durban attorney was struck off the roll of attorneys and conveyancers after he was found to have been stealing money from his clients.
Krishnan “Vincent” Moodley had been a practising attorney for almost three decades and a conveyancer for the past nine years until his name was struck off the roll in the Pietermaritzburg High Court last Monday.
The application had been made by the KwaZulu- Natal Law Society following an investigation by the inspection committee into a complaint from a couple.
Amod Sadek Kareem and his wife, Sardia Bibi, had complained about the manner in which Moodley had handled a conveyancing transaction.
According to the judgment, Moodley had been instructed to attend to the conveyancing when the couple had sold their property for R1 020 000. He had failed to pay the net proceeds after the transfer of ownership of that property into the name of the purchaser who was registered with the Deeds Registry on January 30, 2017.
“The first respondent (Moodley), however, failed to pay the purchase price upon transfer and only paid R300 000 on February 10, 2017, and R671 210 on July 7, 2017.
“At the time the complaint was made, the Kareems still had not received their full purchase price.
“The first respondent also did not deposit the money into an interest bearing account,” it read.
However, Moodley’s version was that he intended to obtain a loan from a Caroline Chetty for R500 000.
“Confident that this loan would be advanced to him he used the couple’s money that was in his trust account. Contrary to his expectation the loan from Chetty did not materialise.”
According to the papers, it was also found that Moodley had used his trust account to pay school fees for his children, and R36 063 was also transferred from trust moneys to pay staff salaries.
“The inspection committee identified three trust accounts which clearly showed that no moneys were received into those accounts, but amounts totalling R419 426.97 had been paid out.
“This, they determined to be a misappropriation of moneys belonging to trust creditors.”
Moodley’s advocate, Mr Winifred had made submissions to court that he had shown remorse and had turned to religion to reform himself, but the court did not find him to be fit and proper to continue to practise as an attorney and conveyancer.
In his ruling, Judge Piet Koen, with Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel concurring, further ordered the court registrar to transmit a copy of the papers in the application to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision as to whether any criminal proceedings should be instituted against Moodley.