Nephew continues testimony in fraud case

2015-01-13 18:40

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Cape Town - A man implicated in an alleged bond scam continued his testimony against his uncle in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, Cape Town, on Tuesday.

The nephew, Wiseman Tsehlana, was cross-examined by defence attorney Andre Pienaar.

On trial before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg is his uncle, Akhila Gaji, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, forgery and uttering (presentation) of forged documents.

Tsehlana claims he was influenced by his uncle to open an account at Capitec bank, with a R25 deposit, as a bank account was one of FNB's requirements for a bond.

At his uncle's request, Tsehlana falsely stated in the application that he was employed as a manager in his uncle's funeral business, Siviwe Funeral Services, with a monthly salary of R39 890.

Tsehlana is currently in prison for his role in the scam.

In Tuesday's proceedings, he said he did not dispute his role in the fraud, and "even went so far as to plead guilty" at his trial.

"I told the police everything, and was as sober as a judge when I made the statement," he said.

He said his uncle often had prior knowledge of any calls that Tsehlana was to receive in connection with his application.

Tsehlana added: "My uncle informed me of any calls that I would be getting, so that I would know what to say.

"If I got an unexpected call, and had to say I was busy and would call back. I then informed my uncle, and he would tell me what to say, because I had never been involved in this kind of thing before."

Asked whether the bank ever asked him where he worked, he replied: "I was asked many times, and said I worked for the funeral company."

"Was that the truth?" Sonnenberg asked.

"No, I was lying to the bank," Tsehlana replied.

Although he did not work in his uncle's business, his uncle gave him a staff number, he said.

He said the bond was for a house worth R820 000 in Somerset West, but the application was for R1.4m.

His understanding was that the house was to be leased to tenants, and that the property would "pay for itself" from the monthly rentals.

"I needed about R100 000 to start my own business, and my uncle promised me money from the R1.4m for this," Tsehlana said.

Questioned about this, he added: "I admit that I knew from the outset that the whole transaction was fraudulent, but I understand that there would be no repercussions for me."

The trial continues.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fraud  |  crime
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