Documents show that a controversial attorney used a large amount of lottery grant funds to help pay for a private home in a luxury country estate.
Denzhe Primary Care, a nonprofit organisation run by attorney Lesley Ramulifho, received R27.5 million to build a drug rehabilitation centre, but almost three years later the centre is still not finished and more than R20 million is unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, Ramulifho has spent most of a R7.5 million tranche paid into Denzhe’s account by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) to pay for his Mooikloof home. The R11 million luxury house is situated on a one-hectare stand on the upmarket Mooikloof Equestrian Estate on the outskirts of Pretoria.
The section of the estate where Ramulifho lives is home to many of Pretoria’s well-heeled who enjoy a country lifestyle only 20km from the city centre. It is also a 13-minute journey from the estate to Ramulifho’s Garsfontein office, just under 8km away.
An amount of R5 million was paid from the Denzhe account to Etienne Naude, a conveyancing attorney who is also an estate agent active in Mooikloof Estate. It was paid a day after the NLC deposited R7.5 million into Denzhe’s account. It appears that Ramulifho paid cash for the house since the title deed does not have any endorsement indicating there is a bond on the property.
Ramulifho’s attorney, KR Elliott, initially failed to answer questions about the payments to Naude from the Denzhe account.
In his response to GroundUp’s attorney, he said: “It is evident your client is relying on alleged bank statements which your client refuses to make available. Accordingly, the only insinuation is that the alleged, and denied, statements were obtained through unlawful means.
“We accordingly await copies of the alleged statements, whereafter our clients will consider responding thereupon – should there be any merit in your client’s allegations, which remain denied.”
GroundUp, in fact, obtained Denzhe’s bank accounts lawfully.
In subsequent correspondence Elliott, on behalf of his client, denied any Denzhe funds were used to pay for Ramulifho’s property.
Last week, GroundUp revealed how Ramulifho used Denzhe’s bank accounts as his personal ATM to fund his extravagant lifestyle. This included using lottery funding to pay for clothing, shoes, restaurants, high-end interior decor and work on one of his two Porsches.
This is the sequence of events that followed the NLC’s R7.5 million payment, which was the first tranche of Denzhe’s funding:
- On May 23, 2016, Ramulifho signed a R11 million agreement of sale for the Mooikloof property, according to Deeds Office records.
- About six months later, on October 3, Ramulifho paid R100 into Denzhe’s dormant First National Bank account, which he had effectively hijacked and used to apply for funding from the lottery, to reactivate it.
- Just over two weeks later, on October 19, the NLC paid the first R7.5 million into Denzhe’s bank account.
- The following day, R5 million was paid to conveyancing attorney Naude from the Denzhe account.
- The house on the Mooikloof Equestrian Estate was transferred to Ramulifho on January 27, 2017, with Naude as the transferring attorney.
The Mooikloof Equestrian Estate has 24-hour CCTV surveillance, is fully enclosed by electric fencing and both the perimeter and the inside of the property are constantly patrolled. Residents have access to a well-stocked “fishing dam”, horse riding, hiking and cycling trails and upmarket stabling facilities. The estate, which has more than 550 one-hectare stands, also has its own monthly magazine.
A blurb on the Mooikloof website boasts: “The large stands provide privacy and create a feeling of space and tranquillity – a piece of paradise in the middle of suburbia. Whether you’re a horse-loving family or working professionals seeking an escape from city living, Mooikloof offers a country upbringing to the children of urban professionals in Gauteng.”
It continues: “The estate offers prolific birdlife, as well as herds of blesbok which roam freely. Many residents own their own springbok or chickens to further enhance the farm-like atmosphere.”
Ramulifho’s taste for luxury doesn’t end with a multimillion-rand mansion on an upmarket estate. He also has four vehicles registered in his name: a Colt L200; a Mercedes-Benz E Class Sedan with a price tag of almost R840 000 for a new model; a Porsche Cayenne GTS, costing about R1.1 million new; and a Porsche Panamera 4, which costs almost R1.5 million new.
- GroundUp is publishing this article in partnership with The Citizen.