Sunday, January 29, 2012

Police crack real estate syndicate

Police crack real estate syndicate
Sne Masuku | 29 January, 2012 00:06
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EmailPrintPolice have cracked what is believed to be one of the country's biggest real estate crime syndicates, involving the sheriff of the court's office in KwaZulu-Natal.
A group of sheriffs are alleged to have colluded with an estate agent who bought repossessed houses for "a bargain" at auctions and sold them at highly inflated prices.

Durban South Sheriff Nthiananda Govender and estate agency boss Mohamed Afzal Ebrahim were arrested on Thursday in a joint operation between the police and the Hawks.

More arrests are expected.

Shortly after their arrest, Ebrahim and Govender appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court where they were granted bail of R30000 and R50000, respectively. The men have also been charged with tax evasion.

Sources close to the investigation say Govender allegedly owes the SA Revenue Service R22-million, while Ebrahim is allegedly to have dodged paying more than R13-million in taxes. The probe into the syndicate was commissioned by First National Bank.

One of the investigators, advocate Karl Auret, said the syndicate had targeted all the major banks in the country. Although Auret could not estimate how many properties had been allegedly bought and sold by the syndicate, he said its members would buy a repossessed house valued at R200 000 for R20000.

"This alleged syndicate has been operating for years," he said.

The case was postponed to February 8 for further investigation.

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