Attorneys Development Fund holds a special meeting

June 26th, 2019
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The new board members of the Attorneys Development Fund, from left, Raj Badal, Phiwa Duma, Mashudu Kutama (Chairperson), Bukky Olowookorun (Vice-Chairperson), David Bekker and Umesh Jivan.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The Attorneys Development Fund (ADF) held a Special General Meeting on 1 June in Johannesburg. The new Chairperson of the ADF, Mashudu Kutama, presented 2017 and 2018 financial statements to the constituent members of the ADF, namely the Black Lawyers Association (BLA), the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and the Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund (LPFF). The Special General Meeting comes after, a resolution was taken at the ADF’s annual general meeting (AGM) in March, that the newly appointed auditors would be given enough time to audit and compile the 2017 and 2018 financial statements of the ADF.

At the ADF AGM, the previous board did not present the financial statements, as some information that was required was saved on a laptop – owned by the former Chief Executive Officer of the ADF, Mackenzie Mukansi, who was being investigated for corruption and money laundering. The laptop had not been seen since Mr Mukansi absconded his position in 2018. At the AGM, former ADF Vice-Chairperson, Mimie Memka, said the auditors had advised the board that they could not present the ADF with the audited financial statements, but rather gave a review of the finances, based on the information that was available at the time.

  • See ‘ADF Task Team takes over investigations and legal proceedings after misappropriation of funds’ at www.derebus.org.za

Board membership of the ADF

The new Chairperson of the Attorneys Development Fund (ADF), Mashudu Kutama, presenting financial statements of the ADF, at a special general meeting in Johanneburg on 1 June.

Another important issue that was discussed at the special general meeting, was whether the Legal Practice Council (LPC) was to be included as a constituent member of the ADF. Mr Kutama pointed out that since the dissolution of the four statutory law societies and the formation of the LPC, there was a need for the Board to decide, in accordance to the Articles of Association of the ADF, whether  to close or replace the membership. Mr Kutama referred to the ADF’s Article of Association where it states at point 4.4 that: ‘Upon the termination of the membership of any Member of the company, the remaining members shall convene a Special general meeting in accordance with these Articles for the purposes of deciding whether a further member should be nominated and appointed in such member’s stead, and an Ordinary Resolution in this regarded shall be put to vote at the meeting, provided that in circumstances where the requirement of the Act in respect of number of members will be contravened unless a further member is appointed, the remaining members shall be required to appoint a further member, failing which the Company shall be wound up.’

The remaining members of the ADF, BLA, NADEL, LSSA, and LPFF resolved that they accept the LPC as a member of the ADF and that the LPC will have to nominate two members who are practising attorneys to be directors. Mr Kutama added that the membership on the Articles of Association of the ADF, will be amended from eight members to five members and will be as follows –

  • the LSSA;
  • the LPFF;
  • the LPC;
  • the BLA; and
  • the NADEL.

Clause 18.1 in the Articles of Association that refers to the directors of the ADF will be amended. It will reflect that members of the ADF are entitled to nominate two directors each, who shall be practising attorneys. Law Society of South Africa representative, Ettienne Barnard suggested that the board be given general powers to also look at amending other necessary things on the founding document of the ADF. Black Lawyers Association President, Lutendo Sigogo, added that primary amendments will be dealt with by the members, but consequential amendments will be dealt with by the ADF board members.

Financial statement presentation

Mr Kutama said the 2017 financial statement of the ADF was completed by Eyesure Financial Services, however, Eyesure Financial Services resigned. The new auditors were then appointed to do the financial statements. During the presentation of the financial statements, members questioned a few issues with regards to the financial reports. Questions included the recording of disbandment of beneficiaries and the repayments done by beneficiaries. Mr Kutama indicated that previously the repayments of beneficiaries were not recorded, as he did not see them reflected in the financial statements, but assured members that it was now going to be recorded and it will reflect on the future financial statements, which will be presented at the next ADF AGM.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.