‘RHOPTA’s’ Peet Viljoen allegedly swindled JHB metro out of 30 properties
His latest venture as a ‘reality television star’ on the ‘Real Housewives van Pretoria’ has placed his wealth and dodgy dealings under the spotlight.
Picture: Screenshot Real Housewives van Pretoria
Tammy Taylor ‘power couple’ Peet and Mel Viljoen just can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight. The Real Housewives van Pretoria stars had social media’s jaws dropping open when they gifted the other housewives’ real diamonds for their nails during the latest episode which aired on Thursday.
But reality television shows aside, Peet is making headlines for other “indiscretions” and not his dramatic James Bond diamond entrance on the latest episode of RHOPTA.
Viljoen, a well-known former lawyer was struck off the roll in 2011 due to serious allegations of fraud, appeared in the commercial court in Pretoria North, sitting in the regional court, on Monday.
The Tammy Taylor CEO is one of the accused in case involving the unlawful sale and transfer of tens of millions of rand of state property from the Johannesburg metro.
Netwerk 24 reported that the charges against Viljoen include up to 297 charges of fraud, alternating between theft and forgery. The corruption charges against the businessman brings the total charges against him to 347.
Conspiracy against Peet Viljoen
Viljoen has strongly denied being a part of the conspiracy instead arguing that the magistrate, prosecutor, investigating officer and his co-accused are conspiring against him, adding that there are other corrupt people wo control the national prosecution authority.
“I was just the correspondent transfer attorney. I had no idea what the value of the properties were. Until today, the state has not been able to provide me with the ‘falsified documents’ so that I can enforce my constitutional rights. The proceedings so far have been irregular,” he told Netwerk24.
Peet Viljoen and Kie
Six people, including Viljoen, were charged in the case dating back to 2010.
- Edwin Maringa a lawyer from Roodepoort, who was in charge of affairs of the private company Eildoug Investments. Eildoug Investments was reportedly a dormant company that was not registered with the South African Insolvency Service (SARS) for tax purposes. Yet it was apparently used as a front company to allegedly hijack the metro properties in question.
The properties would first be transferred in a fraudulent manner, and with forged documents in the name of Eildoug Investments, before it was transferred into the name of the company of prospective buyers.
- Wiets Nell, a businessman from Pretoria: Nell and Viljoen acted as “agents” to market the properties to prospective buyers.
- Ronel van Vuuren, a former employee of Viljoen, is also said to have helped him to continue with the illegal selling of government properties.
- Dorah Madisha from Johannesburg, a former employee of the Johannesburg metro.
- Edmunda Mkhetwa Sibisi, a deputy registrar in the deeds office of the Department of Land Affairs.
Three other accused already pleaded guilty at the time when the case was brought forward and were each sentenced to five years in prison. They will likely be state witnesses when the trial begins.
- Virginia Mahlangu, a former messenger of Viljoen who helped to bribe a Sars employee to obtain transfer rights certificates.
- Annalene van der Berg, a former actuary of Viljoen’s who helped to obtain the stolen JPC clearance certificates with the falsification of documents as well as through bribery; and
- Bongani Makhanya, the Sars employee who issued the exemption certificates at R50 per certificate.
The state claims that the hijacking of the Johannesburg metro properties began after one of the accused came into possession of a book listing all three thousand of the metro’s properties. Many of the metro’s properties are vacant land.
Maringa, Viljoen and Nell allegedly conspired to sell the relevant properties to prospective buyers.
A total of 27 properties worth more than R27 million were allegedly ‘hijacked’ and sold. The money for these transactions were allegedly paid into Peet Viljoen Incorporated’s account.
The indictment states that Wayne Ernest Africa, who was the director of Eildoug Investments at the time, was appointed by Maringa to do the necessary research on the sought-after properties.
Africa, who was not an accused in the case, was allegedly asked by Maringa on several occasions to obtain information about the properties. This included aerial photographs, as well as physical visits to confirm their exact location, as well as whether they were in use at that stage.
The properties that form part of the case are a piece of land in the prestigious Bryanston suburb, near Sandton on the busy William Nicol road.
A source close to the investigation told Netwerk24 that the property is now being used by street artists, who, among other things, make and sell metal sculptures. But at the time, the accused believed that the piece of land was ideal for a development such as an office building.
R25 million still unaccounted for
Of the money paid into Peet Viljoen Incorporated’s account, more than R10 million was paid to Maringa, more than R3 million to Nell and R60,000 to van Vuuren. The rest of the plus R25 million collected, according to the indictment, remained in Peet Viljoen Incorporated’s account.
A source close to the case said the money has not yet been recovered.
The Johannesburg metro never received any money for the properties.
At the time, the metro had to file several High Court applications to reverse the transfers and get back its properties.
*Compiled by Xanet Scheepers