NW Court investigated for ‘fake judgment’

Police investigating the alleged forgery of a court judgement at the North West High Court in Mahikeng. Picture: Molaole Montsho

Police investigating the alleged forgery of a court judgement at the North West High Court in Mahikeng. Picture: Molaole Montsho

Published Jun 30, 2024


The Deputy National Police Commissioner for Crime Detection has authorised an investigation into the forgery of a court judgment at Mahikeng High Court, North West.

Following a complaint lodged by Ramphele Attorneys detailing what it described as a “fraudulent court order”, allegedly used against their client by the Mahikeng High Court Sheriff to seize a multi-million rand property – the firm has asked the police to step in.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe confirmed that Lieutenant General Shadrack Sibiya has been assigned as the investigating officer to look into the matter as reported by the complainant.

On Sunday last week, the “Sunday Independent” revealed that Sarah Kenalemang Modimokoane became the administrator of the estate of her late husband, Andrew Butinyana Modimokoane, who was the registered title holder of the property (business centre) in the Tlhabane area.

A letter authored by Tshepiso Ramphele of Ramphele Attorneys, dated June 26, 2024, addressed to the office of the deputy police commissioner, appealed to the police to investigate what might be the biggest judicial fraud if proven to be true.

“We have two court judgements from Mafikeng High Court, and the enclosed final one of 10 May, 2016, and Writ of Ejectment of Rangaka. These judgements are not under any appeal or court challenge, and they are final.

“The finality of these judgments means the Mahikeng High Court no longer has jurisdiction over this matter, but any party had the right to challenge them. The period of challenging these court decisions has long lapsed.

“A document was presented to us in or around August 2023 as a Court Order. This document has been presented as an “Ex tempore” judgement. An “Ex tempore judgement” means a judgement delivered “orally” by a judge and not a written judgement.

“It is our understanding of the law that the only proof of such an Ex tempore judgement is a transcript of a recording of what was said by the presiding judge at the moment she made such a legal decision based on legal principles.

“We asked in court for a recording and the Mafikeng Court says they do not have a recording of such an Ex tempore judgement,” read the letter.

The letter stated that a well-known businessman who took over the property belonging to Modimokoane initially produced the alleged “fake judgement” in August last year after the order was allegedly granted on September 17, 2020.

According to the letter addressed to the deputy police commissioner, the businessman's lawyers, who produced the document and claimed it to be an Ex tempore judgement, are unable to provide the name of the person who gave them the document.

“We have asked for details of the transcript of the fraud judgement because it was not in the court file from September 2020 to August 2023, and Raikane, Rangaka nor his lawyers can give copies of the transcript or recording device in terms of the Rules of Court to date.

“The fraud judgement has been used by “the businessman” as proof of his right to take over the property of Modimokoane, while the document he uses falls within the provisions of the law.

“The advocate for the businessman either ‘accepted’ the Ex tempore judgement from someone who is employed in the Mahikeng High Court or produced it himself.

“The document was intended to ‘benefit’ the businessman and presented in a court of law as a lawful judgement.

“The law states that a judgment must be recorded. There is no record of this document, and this document was not in the court file and the Registrar could not produce it in three years,” read the complaint.

Ramphele Attorneys mentioned the firm blamed the “judiciary”, though the law was clear that the court is a Court of Record, and for inexplicable reasons, the court had given the businessman their clients’ property based on a “non-existing” moral judgement.

Asked why he sought the intervention of the police and not the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Ramphele said they never responded to his complaint.

Contacted for comment, the spokesperson of the Office of the Chief Justice, Lusanda Ntuli, did not respond besides being furnished with the information she had requested.

An earlier statement issued on April 10 by the Office of the Chief Justice had said that Modimokoane approached the court for an eviction order against the businessman on May 10, 2016, under case number 1200/2011.

The statement mentioned that an order of eviction was granted by Judge President Hendricks on the same day.

Furthermore, it stated that the image of an order provided along with the inquiry was reviewed and found to be a valid court order and thus not fraudulent.

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