FAKE LAWYER COURT IN THE ACT

By Everson Luhanga

In a shocking turn of events, a man posing as a reputable attorney was caught red-handed inside the Bethal Magistrate’s Court while representing a man accused of murder.

It was only after the Hawks conducted a thorough investigation that they discovered his true identity — a fraud.

Doctor Sobetha, who was neither a doctor and not an attorney, was arrested on Friday 24 March and appeared in court on Monday.

At the time of his arrest, the fake attorney was representing Mhlabuyaxega Mntungwa, a suspect linked to the infamous Sam Holdings manager’s murder case in 2019. This was the fourth time that the alleged fake attorney was representing the murder suspect in court.

It remains unclear what the suspected fake attorney’s motives were, what he stood to gain by representing a man accused of murder, or whether he even thought he could win the case.

The Hawks swooped on him in court after he failed to let the authorities know the name of the institution where he studied law.

The only thing he could show to prove his legitimacy was the gown he wore and a matric certificate.

He was then locked up and the court had to adjourn for the murderer accused to find another legal representative.

The alleged fake lawyer is now looking for a lawyer to represent him during his next court appearance.

Both the murder suspect and the fake attorney remain in custody. On Monday 27 March, both appeared in court. Mntungwa appeared on charges of murder and Sobetha appeared on charges of impersonating an attorney. Both cases were postponed to 3 April 2023 for further investigations.

The Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said the 31-year-old Sobetha, the fake attorney, appeared in court on Monday on charges of impersonating an attorney. He appeared in Bethal Magistrate’s Court — the same court. 

Before his arrest on Monday, Sobetha represented 37-year-old Mhlabuyaxega Mntungwa in the murder case of the former Sam Holdings manager, Nkosinathi Emmanuel Ngcongo, who was shot and killed in 2019. Captain Sekgotodi said information was received that Ngcongo was shot by two suspects who sped off after the shooting.

After Ngcongo’s killing, police circulated Mtungwa’s photo noting that he was a wanted suspect in the murder case.

Mntungwa was eventually arrested on 1 February 2023 by the provincial tracking team in KwaZulu-Natal. He was charged, appeared before the Bethal Magistrate’s Court and was remanded in custody.

Another suspect, Phindokuhle Eugene Nkosi, was arrested and found guilty of the same murder. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in October 2020.

Pictured above: Doctor Sobetha appeared in court on Monday after his arrest on 24 March

Image source: Supplied by Hawks

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