5 arrested for conning homeopath out of R16.8m

2017-03-10 16:56

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Mbombela - A pharmacist, a used car dealer, a bank worker and two others have been arrested five years after they allegedly conned a Mpumalanga homeopath out of R16.8m.

The five had reportedly invited Dr Carel Andreas Nel, who has been bedridden for the past year, to invest in a housing scheme in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast.

The investigating officer, Warrant Officer Dietlof Meyer, told Netwerk24 that Nel had sold some of his property to invest in what had seemed to be a lucrative deal. "The money was meant for his children and grandchildren, and now it’s just gone."

A document, in French, which was shown to Nel, turned out to be "gibberish" when translated.

After an investigation lasting about five years, Hendrik Ludolph Visagie, 61, a pharmacist, was arrested along with André Hattingh, 48, the manager of a second hand car dealership in Mbombela, as well as Ingrid Mathilde Eybers, 47, and her ex, Johannes Petrus Eybers, a businessman from Pretoria who now lives in the Western Cape.

They have appeared in the Mshishing Magistrate’s Court.

A warrant of arrest has also been issued for a fifth suspect.

Meyer, who took over the investigation two years ago, said the fifth suspect and Visagie had offered Nel a farm in the Free State as security. "The farm was sold shortly after that."

The suspects apparently also had shown Nel a cover letter in French, the Ivory Coast’s official language.

"I had it translated by an expert and everything in it is apparently hogwash," said Meyer.

The State claims that Nel transferred the money to Hattingh’s account. He then transferred it to Ingrid Eybers, who at that stage was working at a bank.

Johannes Eybers reportedly took the money to the Ivory Coast "in two suitcases".   

The accused are standing trial on charges of fraud, theft, money laundering, and violation of the Reserve Bank Act. They have been freed on bail of R2 000 each and have to appear in court again on April 24.

"The State prosecutor of the Specialised Commercial Crime Court warned them that the minimum jail time they were facing on each of the charges could be seven to 15 years," Meyer said.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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