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South African PA changes plea in fraud case

The Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa is set to hear an application to review a case involving a PA who embezzled almost 1 million Rand (about ?51,600) from auctioneer Julius Buchinsky.

IOL News reports that Buchinsky?s former personal assistant, Najwa Taliep, was to have been sentenced last year after pleading guilty to 631 counts of fraud. However, she replaced her legal aid with defence attorney William Booth just before the sentencing and changed her plea to not guilty on his advice.

Taliep?s request was initially denied on the basis that she had received sound legal council in the first place, but Booth took the matter to the High Court and the application is set to be reviewed in December.

As Buchinsky?s PA, Taliep had access to his business and personal bank accounts. Her duties included processing all electronic transactions, administrative functions and paying clients who put their homes up for auction.

According to the charge sheet, Taliep allegedly fraudulently transferred R961,081 from three of Buchinsky?s accounts into her own two throughout several transactions taking place between January 2008 and December 2010. She labelled the transfers as payments to Buchinsky?s clients and day-to-day expenses.

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