Developer not guilty of fraud

2009-11-20 20:02
Cape Town - Property developer Nolke Roelevink was found not guilty on Friday on two charges of fraud, relating to his failure to refund two investments in a proposed development.

The two investments were made by developers Charles van der Weijde and Lukas Engelbrecht, on the understanding that the R447 000 paid by Van der Weijde and the R220 000 by Engelbrecht, would be refunded if the development did not materialise.

Roelevink pleaded not guilty in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, saying he had an obligation to refund the R667 000.

Arrest led to freezing of account

He told the court he had, in fact, obtained a second bond on his house, which would have enabled him to refund the money, but that his arrest had led to the freezing of his bank accounts.

This had made it impossible for him to refund the two investments.

The money was invested in the company, Exclusive Access Trading, which controlled the proposed development.

The development in question was overseen by the company IBN Consulting. Its director, Ralph Ertner, told the court he was involved in a fiduciary capacity.

Magistrate Amrith Chabillal said Ertner had assessed the viability of the development.

No intent to defraud

Ertner had believed it would materialise and had even bought shares himself in the company.

Chabillal agreed with defence advocate David Charles that Roelevink could not have had the intent to defraud.

If the R667 000 had had to be placed into a trust account, and Roelevink had used the money, he would have been guilty of theft.

However, the fact that Roelevink had given Engelbrecht and Van der Weijde shares for their money, indicated that their transaction had involved the purchase of shares.

He said indications were that Roelevink had sold them the shares, and was thus entitled to do with their money as he pleased.
 

- SAPA

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