The KZN Law Society said a misappropriation was detected by the finance department in February, whereafter an investigation was launched.
Durban - A former employee at the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society has been accused of swindling the statutory body out of more than R1 million during her tenure there.

The Mercury has had sight of a communique sent to members yesterday, informing them of a special general meeting, at which the matter of “the misappropriation of KZN Law Society funds” would be considered.

In an attached report, the society said a misappropriation was detected by the Finance Department in February.

“The council engaged the services of a forensic auditor, who has confirmed upon investigation that the amount was R1 161 641.81, from April 2009 to April 2015,” it said.

“The matter was reported to the South African Police Services and a claim has been submitted to the society’s insurers.”

Also attached was a feedback report from that forensic auditor, Integrated Forensic Accounting Services.

It said initial investigations had turned up evidence suggesting the former employee in question had duplicated payments into a bank account, apparently in her own name.

And after further investigations, a total of 38 “compromised transactions” were identified.

“In all cases the transactions were processed as creditor’s payments and had been diverted into (her) bank account,” the auditor’s report said. “We found that the transactions had been very skilfully concealed to the extent that it was highly unlikely that any review of the payment documentation would have been challenged, either by members of the financial management, or by auditors.

“The transactions were created either by manufacturing invoices or supporting schedules, or by duplicating payments on manipulated supporting documentation”.
The auditor’s report said that with its assistance, the SAPS had subpoenaed a number of bank accounts.

“Through this, we identified several other deposits into her (the former employee’s) account, raising the exposure to the KZN Law Society to R1 161 641.81, through 42 transactions between April 2009 and April 2015.

“Additional bank accounts have been subpoenaed, but have not been reviewed by us.”

It also said that in the wake of a criminal case being opened for investigation by the specialised Commercial Crime unit, a previously historic complaint against the former employee – for falsifying her qualifications – was being reopened.

A Durban attorney yesterday confirmed that he had received an e-mail from the society and said members were aware of the allegations.

KZN Law Society president Asif Essa said yesterday that the matter was sub judice and it would be premature to comment at this stage.