Earlier this week you will have received an invitation to the AGM of the Attorneys Development Fund (ADF) in Johannesburg on 1 March 2019.
As one of the five stakeholders of the ADF, the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) would like to inform you that it is shocked and angered at the unauthorised withdrawal of moneys from the investment accounts by the former CEO of the ADF and that this was allowed to take place at the ADF over several months during 2018.
Together with the other stakeholders – the Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund, the Legal Practice Council, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Black Lawyers Association – the LSSA has set up a Task Team to review what transpired over the past months, to ensure that assets are preserved, funds are recovered and measures are in place to prevent a recurrence.
Although the LSSA is appreciative of the steps the Board of the ADF has taken to contain the damage to itself, its beneficiaries and to the profession, the LSSA cannot overlook the fact that almost half the assets of the ADF were misappropriated by the former CEO before the Board intervened.
These were moneys intended to support and assist previously disadvantaged practitioners and to assist them to establish and or capacitate their practices.
For this reason, the LSSA has resolved that, as a stakeholder, it will call for the resignation of the Board at the AGM.
The Task Team that has been set up will
– Review the governance and actions of the ADF Board;
– Deal with the preservation of assets;
– Monitor the SAPS investigation;
– Monitor the forensic Investigation; and
– Consider the way forward of the ADF and make proposals to the members.
We undertake to keep you informed of developments in this regard.
MVUZO NOTYESI AND ETTIENNE BARNARD
Co-Chairpersons, Law Society of South Africa
LSSA Advisory 1 March 2019