AfriForum and Adv. Gerrie Nel announced during a media conference today that the Private Prosecution Unit has drafted an order of preservation to prevent the Nova Property Group (for all practical purposes a continuation of Sharemax) from selling the company’s properties at values far below its market value – at the expense of investors. AfriForum has sent this order to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), requesting that they bring it in a court of law.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit of the NPA can in terms of a court order keep property such as this in safe custody, but the prosecuting authority has brought no such application.
In the application that AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit drafted for the use of the NPA, the civil rights organisation argues that the properties in question were acquired by the proceeds of unlawful activity, including money laundering and fraud, as set out in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 121 of 1998, as well as the Banks Act, 94 of 1990. AfriForum has requested that the NPA take these properties into its custody, since the property was instrumental in committing the abovementioned crimes against the investors, and because Nova has been in control thereof since 2012. Nova was however founded with the proceeds of illegal deposits that had been accepted by Sharemax from the public.
According to Adv. Nel, his unit’s investigation has also yielded evidence that the board members of Nova pay themselves excessive salaries, as well as paying themselves before paying debentures. “It also seems that Nova is getting rid of buildings in an attempt to avoid liquidation. The actions of the Nova board are unscrupulous, and we have therefore been compelled to draft this application and send it to the NPA to keep investors from suffering further losses.”
“Many of the investors in this scheme are elderly people with meagre resources who hoped to make an income by investing their nest eggs. The board of Nova/Sharemax have lived the high life at the expense of these people and as a civil rights organisation, AfriForum cannot allow them to not being held accountable. This scheme can be equated to the operation of a crime syndicate and for this reason their actions have to be stopped immediately,” says Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum.