Law firm seeks R10-million from Zondo Commission

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture and Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola have been dragged to court for failing to pay more than R10-million to the law firm that has been rendering services to the commission.

Mabunda Incorporated has applied for judgement against the commission and Lamola in the Joburg High Court and has given them 20 days to indicate whether they will oppose the application. In the court papers seen by Sunday World, the law firm said it signed a contract with the commission on April 9 2018 to render services to it.

Among the services rendered were negotiating and drafting contracts with investigators and employees of the secretariat to the commission.

It also procured advice on the contractual agreements with suppliers to the commission, generally conducted communication and entered into correspondence on behalf of the executive committee of the secretariat. It also dealt with adhoc issues as they arose and as directed by the executive committee on behalf of the commission.

The rate, according to the papers, was supposed to be R2 500 an hour or R25 000 a day. After rendering the services, the firm said it sent the invoice to the commission for payment.

The first invoice was sent to the commission acting secretary Peter Pedlar on April 8 last year.

Pedlar wrote back and confirmed receipt of the invoice on April 10 and advised that the bill of cost should also be sent to the state attorney.

The firm said this was done on April 17 but no payment was made and as a result it sent letters to the secretary of the commission on May 13 and July 5 last year demanding payment.

The secretary, the papers said, responded via an e-mail on July 7 and said he had approved the bill and would follow up on it.

When no payment was received, the firm sent another letter of demand to the commission secretary on October 2 but the commission still failed to pay the money.

Mabunda said it notified Lamola and the secretariat of the commission of its intention to institute legal action against the commission if the bill was not settled as soon as possible.

“Despite demand, the defendant(s) have failed/ neglected/ refused to make payment of the plaintiff’s invoices. The amount of R10 161 907.14 is due and payable,” read the papers.

Commission spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemela failed to respond to written questions we sent to him on Friday.

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