An Emalahleni Municipality official on Friday appeared in court along with two other suspects following their arrest for allegedly scamming people into purchasing RDP homes.
Vusumuzi Phakane, (52), and his co-accused – Justice Sambo (46) and Caroline Koloane (29) – were arrested by the Hawks on Wednesday for fraud, corruption, theft, forgery and money laundering.
The Emalahleni Magistrate Court released Phakane and Kgoalane on R10 000 bail each, while Sambo was remanded in custody because he has previous convictions.
It is alleged that during October 2020, Phakane, who is employed by the Emalahleni Municipality as a community municipal coordinator, had access to information on RDP houses around Emalahleni and colluded with Sambo to sell those houses.
The two approached Kgoalane and used her as the advertiser.
“The unsuspecting victims would respond to the advert seen on social media and be directed by the syndicate to the municipality offices to complete the agreement of sale forms,” said police spokesperson, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, in a statement.
“They would be further advised to go to the lawyers for the agreement and the victims became convinced that the sale is legitimate. They would be told to make the payment into Sambo’s Nedbank account. The syndicate allegedly shared the money amongst themselves.”
Sekgotodi said while an unsuspecting victim occupied a newly purchased house, other victims would also come forward and produce documents as proof of purchase.
The victims lost approximately R300 000.
Sekgotodi said: “The matter was reported to the Hawks for investigation. During the investigation, it was established that the lawful owners of the houses are still alive. The suspects were linked to the allegations, traced and arrested.”
The case was postponed to 20 August 2021 for Sambo’s formal bail application.