Housing fraudsters lose appeal

2012-10-15 21:23
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Pretoria - A former Mogale City official and his co-accused will be jailed for unlawfully selling RDP houses after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria turned down their appeal on Monday.

Judge Legodi Phatudi and Acting Judge DS Molefe dismissed an appeal by Arthur Tshepo Meje and Edward Mqahayi against their Pretoria Regional Court conviction and sentences on various counts of fraud.

Meje had been sentenced to in effect five years' imprisonment, and Mqahayi to six years' imprisonment. They were both out on bail.

With the conclusion of the appeal, they were given 72 hours to report to the clerk of the court to start serving their sentences.

They appealed on the grounds that they were not properly identified and that the State had not called all the witnesses it initially indicated it would.

They also claimed there was no proof they had received any money.

Meje worked in the office responsible for the transfer of ownership of RDP houses and was responsible for issuing and signing letters of occupation, referred to as "happy letters".

No payment was expected from the beneficiaries, but Meje and Mqahayi were involved in a scheme where money was paid for the houses.

Mqahayi, who was well-known in the community, acted as agent by taking prospective "buyers" to the site and showing them the stands.

Meje issued letters of occupation and handed out the keys to the premises after payment of a fixed price.

Complainants who demanded receipts were told the "happy letter" was their receipt. The judges found the evidence of the complainants, who had identified the accused, was truthful and reliable.

They said the accused knew well the beneficiaries of the houses were not expected to pay anything to Mogale City.

- SAPA
Read more on:    corruption
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