Friday, January 14, 2011
Sharemax lawyers files defamation suit
Sharemax lawyer files defamation suit
January 14 2011 at 09:45am
By roy cokayne
Zambezi mall - one of Sharemax's properties. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi
Sharemax Investments attorneys Weavind & Weavind, along with its seven directors, have instituted a multimillion-rand damages claim against three people and a company over allegations that the law firm had misappropriated funds from its trust account.
Weavind & Weavind’s particulars of claim lists a number of statements alleging that funds deposited into the firm’s trust fund had been stolen by the company. These allegations were made in affidavits drafted in support of a complaint to the Law Society of the Northern Provinces and a criminal case.
The firm said the allegations were “wrongful and defamatory” of the firm and carried the implication that the directors were complicit in the theft and shared in the proceeds.
It said the statements were made with the intention to defame the firm and its directors and injure their reputation.
Pierre Hough, the managing director of Chase International, who assisted with the drafting of the affidavits and is one of the respondents in the matter, said yesterday that the summons and damages claim had no substance or merit and confirmed that the respondents would be defending the matter.
Hough claimed that the damages claim was a tactic by Weavind & Weavind to “scare off” other investors in syndications marketed by Sharemax from lodging claims against the law firm.
Weavind & Weavind and its directors have issued a combined summons against Hough, Chase Consulting, financial planner Toffie Risk and Johanna Margaretha Magdalena Bosman, an investor in the Zambezi Retail Park syndication marketed by Sharemax.
The firm is claiming R2 million and its seven directors a further R1m each from Bosman, Hough and Chase Consulting because of damages they claim resulted from Bosman’s conduct.
It is also claiming R2m and its directors R1m each from Hough, Chase Consulting and Toffie Risk related to a similar affidavit submitted by Risk.
Jaco Fourie, a senior legal official of disciplinary department at the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, said yesterday that the organisation was waiting for a response from Hough to Weavind & Weavind’s comments about the complaint before presenting the evidence to a disciplinary committee of the law society.
The complaint to the law society and the opening of a fraud case at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria, which was subsequently transferred to the commercial crimes unit of the SAPS, followed Sharemax defaulting on monthly payments to investors in early September last year.
Construction on both Zambezi Retail Park and The Villa schemes promoted by Sharemax ground to a halt at the same time.
The registrar of banks in mid-September appointed statutory managers to manage the repayment of funds after an investigation found that Sharemax’s funding model contravened the Banks Act. - Roy Cokayne