Sunday, 17 June 2018

LAWYER STEALS $400K


A Bulawayo lawyer who was once employed at Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners has appeared in court facing charges of allegedly defrauding more than $400 000 from 41 clients within a period of two years.

Leslie Bhekimpilo Sibanda appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Joseph Mabeza facing two counts of theft of Trust Property and contravening Section 136 of Criminal Law Codification Reform Act and two counts of fraud.

This was after the court grouped the cases into four categories. Count One involved 27 clients, count two nine,  count three five and count four one. Sibanda pleaded not guilty to the four counts and the magistrate postponed the matter to 2 July for further continuation of the trial.

The court heard that Sibanda was employed as an attorney by Webb, Law and Barry incorporating Ben Baron and Legal Partners. The court heard that between 8 January 2014 to 1 July 2016, Sibanda was allegedly stealing and scamming clients money that add up to $404 367. Prosecutor Mr Tinashe Dzipe said that Sibanda would allegedly call for and withdraw money out of a client trust account.

He would pay part of the money to the client and pocket the difference or he would request for cash from the petty cash account alleging that it was money for transport or other ancillaries on behalf of a client when a client had not given him such instructions.

Mr Dzipe told the court that Sibanda would also transfer funds from one client account by means of a transfer journal into another client’s account when the client’s accounts were not related in any way. It is alleged that on one occasion he used the law firm as a security to guarantee payment for a loan he acquired from Wilsgroove Enterprise Private Limited.

Sibanda is said to have allegedly run out of luck when he moved money from the law firm’s account into a Mr Daemon’s account to settle a debt. Several lawyers have of late been dragged to court for swindling their clients of thousands of dollars leading to some being de-registered by the Law Society of Zimbabwe. Sunday News

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