Cape lawyer charged with fraudComment on this story
Cape Town - A lawyer who allegedly twice billed the Legal Aid SA board for work not done appeared in the Cape Town Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Wednesday.
Motlatsi Ishmail Pitlele, 43, of Mitchells Plain, was not asked to plead when he appeared before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.
He faces two fraud charges involving R23 464.
Pitlele was engaged by legal aid authorities in July 2006 to represent an accused in a Western Cape High Court criminal trial.
Prosecutor Simone Liedeman alleges he billed legal aid for R11 577 in February 2007, and falsely specified that the trial had run from February 12 to 27, and was still running.
The bill was approved, and payment made into his bank account.
According to the charge sheet, the case was then allocated to another advocate, to complete the partly heard matter.
The second advocate finalised the case, and stated in his account that he had in fact started and finalised the case, and that the matter was not partly heard when he took over, as Pitlele had claimed.
On the second fraud charge, Pitlele allegedly billed legal aid for R14,210, for work not done in the Western Cape High Court.
In the belief that he had in fact represented the client, he was paid R11,887.
Pitlele was warned to appear again on July 1, while he awaited the outcome of his own application for free legal representation.