Pam Golding in hot water over sale of houses to ex-Mozambican president's family

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Pam Golding Properties is facing a probe by the Estate Agency Affairs Board in a case involving the sale of two properties worth R50 million to the  family of former Mozambican president Armando Guebuza, in a transaction which is said to have raised suspicions of money laundering.

It is alleged that the company may have contravened financial law by not following the legal requirements in the process of selling the properties in Dainfern and Kyalami Estate to the family.

The probe which will involve the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), has been described as by the Board as  a "first of its kind" -and will look at whether Pam Golding Properties violated  the FIC Act, including among other things being party to money laundering, suspicious and unusual transaction.

"Pam Golding Properties will be the subject of a multi-pronged investigation following reports that it allegedly facilitated the sale of properties to the children of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza without following legal requirements and thus allegedly aided money laundering," the Board said in a statement.

Guebuza was president of Mozambique from 2005 to 2015. The sale is said to have come to light last week.

It was not clear when the houses were bought.

"It is alleged that former political leaders and their families were laundering money by investing large sums of illegal monies in properties in South Africa, resulting in the artificial inflation of property prices and skewed market values," it said.

Board CEO Mamodupi Mohlala said the probe would involve officials doing on-site inspections at Pam Golding Properties’ premises and requesting access to documents.

"The allegations against Pam Golding's conduct is most concerning," she said.

"We are aware that the property sector, more especially the real estate sector, is a source of wealth creation. We, however say, create wealth legally and according to rules and policies," she added.

Fin24 was unable to reach Pam Golding, but Sunday Times said Bradd Bendall, the general manager real estate operations for the company, said he was unaware of the investigation. He said the company would co-operate.

"We take these allegations extremely seriously. We are in the process of conducting an independent investigation," he told the newspaper.

Pam Golding is a leading real estate agency in the country, with a presence across sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

- Compiled by Sibongile Khumalo

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