Tammy Taylor’s “power couple” Peet and Mel Viljoen just can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight. The Real Housewives of Pretoria the stars had their social media jaws open when they offered the other housewives’ real diamonds for their nails during the final episode which aired on Thursday.
But reality TV shows aside, Peet is making headlines for other “indiscretions” and not for his dramatic James Bond diamond entrance in the latest episode of RHOPTA.
Viljoen, a well-known former solicitor struck off the roll in 2011 due to serious allegations of fraud, appeared in Pretoria North Commercial Court sitting in the Regional Court on Monday.
The Tammy Taylor CEO is one of the defendants in a case involving the illegal sale and transfer of tens of millions of rands worth of Johannesburg Metro’s public assets.
Network 24 reported that the charges against Viljoen include up to 297 charges of fraud, alternating between theft and forgery. The corruption charges against the businessman bring the total charges against him to 347.
Conspiracy against Peet Viljoen
Viljoen strongly denied being part of the plot, saying the magistrate, prosecutor, investigator and his co-defendants were conspiring against him, adding that there are other corrupt people who control the national prosecution.
“I was just the corresponding attorney for the transfer. I had no idea of the value of the properties. Until today, the State has not been able to provide me with the “forged documents” for that I can assert my constitutional rights. So far, the procedure has been irregular,” he said. Network24.
Peet Viljoen and Kie
Six people, including Viljoen, have been charged in the 2010 case.
- Edwin Maringa a lawyer from Roodepoort, who was in charge of the affairs of the private company Eildoug Investments. Eildoug Investments was reportedly a dormant company which was not registered with the South African Insolvency Service (SARS) for tax purposes. Yet it was apparently used as a front company to hijack the metro properties in question.
The properties would first be transferred fraudulently, and with false documents in the name of Eildoug Investments, before being transferred in the name of the company of the potential buyers.
- Wiets Nell, a businessman from Pretoria: Nell and Viljoen acted as “agents” to market the properties to potential buyers.
- Ronel van Vuuren, a former Viljoen employee, also allegedly helped him prosecute the illegal sale of government properties.
- Dorah Madisha from Johannesburg, former employee of the Johannesburg Metro.
Three other defendants had already pleaded guilty when the case was heard and were each sentenced to five years in prison. They will likely be witnesses for the prosecution when the trial begins.
- Virginia Mahlangu, a former Viljoen courier who helped bribe a Sars employee to obtain transfer tax certificates.
- Annalene van der Berg, a former Viljoen actuary who helped obtain stolen JPC clearance certificates with document forgery as well as bribery; and
- Bongani Makhanya, the Sars employee who issued the exemption certificates at R50 per certificate.
The state says the embezzlement of Johannesburg Metro properties began after one of the defendants came into possession of a book listing the three thousand Metro properties. Many metro properties are vacant lots.
Maringa, Viljoen and Nell allegedly conspired to sell the affected properties to potential buyers.
A total of 27 properties worth over R27 million were reportedly ‘hijacked’ and sold. The money from these transactions would have been paid into the account of Peet Viljoen Incorporated.
The indictment states that Wayne Ernest Africa, who at the time was the director of Eildoug Investments, was appointed by Maringa to carry out the necessary searches on the properties sought.
Africa, who was not a defendant in the case, was reportedly approached by Maringa several times for information about the properties. This included aerial photographs, as well as physical visits to confirm their exact location, as well as whether they were in use at this point.
The properties that are part of the deal are land in the prestigious suburb of Bryanston, near Sandton on the busy William Nicol Road.
A source familiar with the investigation said Network24 that the property is now used by street artists, who, among other things, make and sell metal sculptures. But at the time, the defendant believed the land was ideal for a development such as an office building.
25 million rand still missing
Of the money paid into Peet Viljoen Incorporated’s account, over R10 million went to Maringa, over R3 million to Nell and R60,000 to van Vuuren. The rest of the more than R25 million collected, according to the indictment, remained in the account of Peet Viljoen Incorporated.
A source familiar with the matter said the money had not yet been recovered.
Johannesburg Metro has never received any money for the properties.
At the time, Metro had to make several applications to the High Court to reverse the transfers and recover its properties.
*Compiled by Xanet Scheepers