Couple in Lenasia land saga found guilty

2013-11-02 09:35

A couple has been found guilty by the Johannesburg Magistrates Court for illegally selling land in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

The Gauteng human settlements department said yesterday Muzwamandla Poto and his wife Elizabeth were found guilty on 13 counts of fraud.

“Mr Poto, who is a pensioner and also a former official of the City of Johannesburg, faced 16 counts of fraud after residents paid him money to buy government stands,” it said.

“Another charge of trespassing was also added and they were both found guilty after they illegally built their house on a government-owned stand.”

They will return to court on December 12 for sentencing.

In October, the same court found former City of Johannesburg official Sifiso Litau guilty on three counts of fraud.

He was out on bail and will return to court on November 8 for sentencing.

Last November, the Gauteng housing department demolished about 50 houses in Lenasia. It said it was acting within the law because the houses were built illegally on government land.

The plots on which the houses were built were fraudulently sold for amounts ranging from R2 500 to R95 000. The buyers were given forged deeds of sale with the department’s logo.

Human Settlements MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said the sentencing of two more people was an indication that the State had strong cases against suspects.

“We don’t want any of them to escape going to jail for what they have done. They have defrauded the people and stolen from the State, and the only thing that they deserve is to serve time behind bars,” Mekgwe said.

“This should send a message to the public that we seriously want to deal with this corruption. People should not hesitate to come forward with information so that we can end this syndicate.”

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