JOHANNESBURG – Road Accident Fund lawyer Ronald Bobroff and his son Darren have been accused of cooking the books. This comes after allegations made last week that Bobroff had grossly overcharged clients.
Bobroff is embroiled in a fierce battle with Discovery Holdings and its attorneys Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS). Discovery has several clients who used Bobroff to make successful claims against the Road Accident Fund (RAF). Discovery’s medical aid scheme rules oblige members to repay funds successfully claimed from the RAF. Bobroff’s alleged overcharging would reduce the amount of money that Discovery’s medical aid scheme could reclaim.
For more see: Ronald Bobroff hits back at Discovery claims.
At the centre of the battle is Mr Graham, a former Bobroff client.
Graham used Bobroff’s firm to successfully claim against the RAF. He was apparently happy with his share of the settlement, which was R1.2m out of a total repayment of R2m. However, evidence of alleged overcharging emerged when Discovery’s medical aid asked Graham for its share of the RAF spoils.
Discovery’s lawyers, ENS, appointed chartered accountant Vincent Faris to examine Mr Graham’s accounting records. Faris discovered an amount of R758 000 which was paid from Bobroff’s trust account into an account at Bidvest Bank.
Faris argues that this money, which was apparently Bobroff’s share of the RAF payment, should have been transferred to his business account as fees. Faris suggests that this failure to raise fees was a “manipulation of the records to avoid and/or evade the payment of Income Tax and VAT.”
Van Niekerk also has testimony from former Bobroff bookkeeper Bernadine van Wyk. In an affidavit, Van Wyk details alleged “criminal conduct” she witnessed at Bobroff’s firm. She refers to “manifold, serious and ongoing breaches by Ronald and Darren Bobroff… specifically in relation to proper bookkeeping and accounting to clients are manifest and will be readily apparent to any independent forensic investigator”.
“She suspects that countless [Bobroff] clients have been robbed of their compensation paid by the RAF,” says Van Niekerk.
However, Bobroff responds that Van Wyk is a “multiple convicted fraudster” who has served a sentence in prison. Bobroff claims he only recently found out about Van Wyk’s past.
Bobroff says he is aware that Van Wyk has “provided Discovery and its proxies with all kinds of allegations against my firm which will be dealt with in the correct forum and in accordance with the recognised procedures.”
Bobroff says he fired Van Wyk after holding a disciplinary enquiry before an independent chairperson.
Further, he claims: “We have evidence on oath to the effect that Ms Van Wyk has been offered employment by Discovery but was advised by one of Discovery’s proxies to remain on in our offices so as to continue to spy on us.”
Acting on the advice of ENS, and funded by Discovery Holdings, Mr and Mrs Graham have asked the North Gauteng High Court for an order to inspect Bobroff’s practice and for the court to determine their complaint against Bobroff.
Says Van Niekerk: “The truth will no doubt be out when the matter is heard.”