File Photo: Clyde Robinson

Cape Town - A former attorney who specialised in claims against the Road Accident Fund (RAF), appeared in court on Wednesday, charged with stealing more than R6 million from RAF claimants and deceased estates.

Eslin Frank Meyer, 59, who had practices in Mitchell's Plain and Gordon's Bay, pleaded not guilty to charges of theft and failure to keep proper accounting records, when his trial commenced in September last year.

At the time of pleading, defence advocate Afzal Vallie told the court that Meyer elected to remain silent, and not to disclose his defence to the charges. He is on trial in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg. His appearance on Wednesday was brief, and the matter was postponed for further trial to June 23 and his bail of R10 000 extended.

According to the charge sheet, he practised as Eslin Meyer Attorneys, but was interdicted from practising by the Cape Law Society five years ago, after 61 claims amounting to R6 441 657 were lodged with the Attorney's Fidelity Fund.

The prosecutor, senior state advocate Razia Valley-Omar, of the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions, alleges that, in some instances, Meyer retained for himself the full proceeds of payments made by the RAF, without informing the claimants that the RAF had paid their claims.

In other claims, he presented false payment advices to clients, paid only a portion of their claims and kept the rest for himself, it is alleged. Although there were 61 claims against the Fidelity Fund, the charge sheet lists the names of three RAF claimants, who were either “short-changed” or failed to receive any money at all from claims that had been paid out.

Similarly, it is alleged that huge amounts were paid into Meyer's trust accounts, as the proceeds of property sales pertaining to deceased estates, but not paid over to the executors of the estates.