Local accused of property scam
By Khuthala Nandipha
A case of fraud has been opened against an East Londoner for allegedly hijacking properties, advertising them for rental and scamming ‘would be tenants’ of their deposits. Property development company, The Billion Group, which owns the Hemingways Mall claim that the suspect has been staying in their property, Oceanview in Cambridge, rent free for years.
Tamlyn Dickson opened a case with the Cambridge police this month after the suspect gave her a lease after she paid R3,500 deposit to occupy a flat in February 2020. She claims that she has not been able to occupy the property until now because the ‘landlord’ needed to evict current tenants.
Dickson and the suspect had a physical altercation and the accused applied for a protection order. The accused claims that she owes him rent for February 2020 and has not fully paid her deposit balance of R3 500, which, according to her, was due at the end of March.
Vuyokazi Njongwe, Commercial Director for The Billion Group said the property was leased out to the alleged scammer while he was doing security work for the Oceanview complex house, which is under the Hemmingways Lifestyle Centre, a few years ago.
“He owned a security company (Mapogu) and approached us to rent the property as its head offices for his security company while at the same time looking after security of the area,” she said. The relationship went sour a few years later and he stopped paying rent, working and refused to vacate the property.
“Previously he had raised various claims through his attorneys, in response to our notices, which I will not discuss herein. We had gone the civil route against him previously hence we were liaising with his attorneys. He has now agreed to give up possession of the property officially,” said Njongwe.
He is currently under investigation for allegedly defrauding sixteen people of between R3 500 and R60 000. Cambridge police spokesperson, Captain Mluleki Mbi confirmed that a case of fraud is under investigation and the docket has been sent to the Senior Public Prosecutor for a decision. “We are not in a position to release a person’s previous convictions to the media,” said Captain Mbi, responding to claims that the accused has a long rap sheet.
Under the case, some of the sixteen people have submitted statements of their claims against the local man. One alleged victim, a newlywed, has taken the man to the small claims court. He missed his first appearance and is expected to appear again in April for a R4 000 deposit claim.
“When it was time to move into our cottage, he told my wife and I that the property is no longer for rental. I paid him in August 2019, I still do not have my money. A month after the suspect said I could no longer move in. I swung by the cottage and there was a new tenant who had just moved in and paid money to him to lease the place,” said anonymous.
Attorney Colin Heneke of RS. Siyila Attorneys claims that the complainants had occupied the said properties at some stage but moved out without giving him notice or allowing for inspections of damages to the properties. “I am aware that he does not own these properties. This is a criminal case that will be due in court soon, so I do not want to get into details.”