Report: Agriculture Dept in a R27m legal fees scandal

The company B Xulu and Partners Incorporated is said to have charged R27.3 million for its services which the state attorney's office could have provided for free.

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana (centre) addressing the media in Cape Town on 2 August. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has reportedly forked out more than R27 million for legal services that the state attorney office could have provided for free.

According to the City Press, the details of the department’s lucrative contract with B Xulu and Partners Incorporated form part of a raft of fraud, theft and mismanagement of funds charges laid against the department's Deputy DG Siphokazi Ndudane.

The B Xulu in charge of the company is Barnabus Xulu, the high-profile attorney who helped set up The Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust.

He also represented Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya in the R155 million lawsuit brought against him by the Special Investigating Unit.

According to the newspaper, 11 months ago, the agriculture department's DG laid disciplinary charges against Ndudane one of which related to the appointment of Xulu's firm

Papers filed in the western cape high court reportedly show that the auditor general found the appointment of Xulu's firm was irregular- and was not done through tender processes.

The company is said to have charged R27.3 million for its services which the state attorney's office could have provided for free.