Defrauded of dream home

By SISIPHO ZAMXAKA and TYLER RIDDEN

Sacked Chas Everitt estate agent and pastor Dumisani Sileku, 31, is facing criminal charges for allegedly defrauding a security guard of R240 000 in buying a house.

Mandisa Zele stands outside her Duncan Village home holding documents which show how she lost R240000 after she showed interest in buying the house Picture: SISIPHO ZAMXAKA

Cambridge police spokesman Captain Mluleki Mbi confirmed that a case of fraud had been opened and investigations were underway.

In an interview with the Daily Dispatch, Sileku admitted to taking the money and promised to pay back the victim, Mandisa Zele, 43, of Duncan Village, Section-C, who had been saving for 20 years to buy a home for her sister and two nieces.

However, he has already missed a promised payment of R60 000.

Zele said she starting working as a petrol attendant when she was 19 and later became a security guard.

Last year, Zele saw a house advertised by Chas Everitt in Property Trader magazine and contacted their agent, who at that stage was Sileku.

Smith Tabata Attorneys were appointed as conveyancing attorneys and Zele paid them her savings of R95000 pending the balance in a loan from Absa.

However, Absa declined the loan, and Smith Tabata returned the R95000 to Zele.

Zele said she was determined to raise more money to add to her deposit in order to qualify for the bond because she wanted a better, more comfortable life for her family.

“I got a R70 000 loan from Nedbank, my stokvel raised R300 00 and I had my R950 00 in savings.

At this point, Zele said Sileku suggested “new lawyers” to her.

The Haven Hills house Zele lost Pictures: SISIPHO ZAMXAKA

Zele said she was never called in to sign any documentation, as had happened with Smith Tabata.

Instead, she was told by Sileku that the new lawyer was busy, but said she must send the new lawyer her money and she would be called in later to sign.

Daily Dispatch has seen documents of bank transactions from Zele’s account to that of the “new lawyer”, referred to only as “Kumkani Trading”.

Zele first paid Khumkani Trading her life savings of R95000 on July 13 last year.

She topped it up with R5 000 to reach R100 000. On August 17 last year, she paid over the R70 000 she had borrowed from Nedbank.

She then paid the R30 000 she obtained from her stokvel, and the last R40 000 she paid in bits and pieces, including her annual bonus, to reach the total of R24 0000.

Zele said the “lawyer” now had R240 000 to put down as the deposit on her dream home.

But nothing happened.

“He wouldn’t answer my calls or would make excuses of how the lawyers were too busy to meet me. He, however, promised that the deal would be successful in a few months,” she said.

LIFE SAVINGS: Former estate agent Dumisani Sileku. Picture: FACEBOOK

The Daily Dispatch approached Sileku, who initially denied having been involved in a house sale with Zele.

Sileku refused to be interviewed over the phone and asked for a sit-down interview where he would bring documents giving his side of the story.

In an interview at the Daily Dispatch offices, Sileku admitted having defrauded Zele because he was under financial pressure.

“As an estate agent, you live off commission and this time I was under immense pressure to pay off my debts.

“After the deal was initially declined by the bank, I thought that was my chance.

“She trusted me with her money, so I said we should transfer the money to the ‘lawyers’, which were in fact my company, Kumkani Trading,” he said.

Sileku said he was aware of criminal and fraud charges laid against him a month ago, and was still waiting for police to call or visit him for questioning.

He said he would be selling all his seven properties and cars to pay back Zele by August 20.

In an affidavit dated March 6, Sileku admitted to being indebted to Zele for a sum of R24 0000 and committed to pay her R60 000 by March 31. He never made the payments.

Chas Everitt principal agent Clinton Krouse said they would not be refunding Zele because they had not been involved. Sileku had done the deal secretly and had been fired.

“He did the sale without my knowledge. Criminal and fraud charges have been laid against him and there will possibly be litigation to that effect,” he said.

Krouse said Sileku had since been dismissed following the damning accusation, but could not give details of the dismissal saying the case was being handled by Labournet. — sisiphoz@dispatch.co.za

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