R2m sought from law firm 'legitimate'
Law firm Le Roux Inc can hold on to the R2m the NDPP had hoped to recover in relation to the plundering of the Integrated Public Transport System, the Eastern Cape High Court (Port Elizabeth) ruled yesterday. But while the state was unsuccessful in trying to recoup the funds, the judgment does not absolve attorney David le Roux of wrongdoing, according to a report in The Herald.
It says the judge noted that various offences had likely been committed in relation to the metro’s beleaguered bus system.
The NDPP had gone after the law firm – and Le Roux specifically – under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. Asset Forfeiture Unit Advocate Warren Myburgh, acting for the NDPP, had argued that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the R2m held in the trust account of Le Roux’s legal representative was the proceeds of unlawful activities such as money laundering, corruption, fraud and theft.
But Judge Elna Revelas disagreed.
Pausing only to remark that Myburgh had convinced her that various offences had probably been committed by the likes of Le Roux and other role-players involved in the IPTS, she said the money the NDPP was now trying to recover had, in fact, been derived from legitimate sources.
The NDPP was therefore not entitled to a final preservation order and Revelas dismissed the application with costs.
The judge said the money in question was unconnected to the instrumentality of any offence.
‘The (municipality) or the (NDPP) should have acted much sooner on the information emanating from the results of the forensic investigations conducted by Deloitte into dodgy procurement practices in the IPTS and to secure repayment of the wasted funds allocated by the Treasury to the IPTS,’ the judge commented.
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