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Monday Aug 20, 2012

Papier heads troubled estate agency board

Attorney Taswell Papier admits he has a "daunting task" ahead to right the dysfunctional Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), following his appointment as administrator this week.

Papier, a director at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs attorneys, said yesterday he was "humbled" by the appointment made by Human Settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale. This sees him fill the post for six months, while attempting to restore stability and corporate governance at the board.

The board has been rocked by several scandals, including the Wendy Machanik and Auction Alliance sagas which occurred under the board's watch, and the acrimonious parting of the ways with former chief executive Nomonde Mapetla, and the resignations and suspensions of other high-level officials.

Machanik, a former estate agent, was charged with fraud this year after dipping into her company's trust account. Auction Alliance was also this year accused of running a mock auction and paying kickbacks to liquidators, lawyers and bank employees to secure auction rights on properties.

At the end of last month, Sexwale placed the EAAB under administration, and dissolved the board. He also said an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit would be conducted.

Papier said yesterday he had yet to receive the terms of reference for his new role, but had already considered the first order of business.

The SIU investigation would form part of his attempts to orientate himself with the issues facing the EAAB.

Papier practises corporate commercial law, but made headlines last year when he acted for honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani during his extradition hearing. He also represented Manchester United football boss Sir Alex Ferguson when he was accused of sexual assault by a Cape Town woman in 2002.

Sexwale said Papier was "a dynamic visionary and strategic leader", whose work in the private and public spheres qualified him for the task

Saturday Star

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