where is my house?

Mohale Pilusa, founder of Makoti Properties, who was accused of embezzling a home buyer's money and conducting his business unscrupulously, has agreed to refund the money.

The amount to be refunded is R77000, which was paid as a deposit for a house.

Truth Dube, who works in England, said she had decided to buy a house for her child who was born last month.

"I needed a house as an investment for my child. I never thought I would end up without a house and fighting to get my money back from the estate agent," she said.

Dube said she browsed the Internet and found the house she liked. She then called Pilusa who confirmed he was mandated to sell the house.

She later paid a deposit of R77000 in two installments into the agent's trust account for the house. Dube says the house was valued at R448000.

She said the money was her life's savings she had made in the UK.

"Before paying the deposit, Pilusa had sent me an offer to purchase with instructions that I must just sign it without completing the blanks.

"The balance was financed by First National Bank here," she said.

Dube's misery started when the time came to have the property transferred into her name, she said.

"I was alerted by the transferring attorneys that Pilusa had refused to transfer my deposit into their account when asked to do so."

She said she later sent him three e-mails asking him to transfer the money into the conveyancers' account but Pilusa just ignored her.

"I was so stressed that I had to ask my sister to take over because I couldn't handle it alone," she said.

Dube said she chose Pilusa because his website described him as a well-groomed person.

Dube said if she had known, she would have dealt directly with the seller and not an agent.

Consumer Line spoke to the seller, who preferred to remain anonymous.

He said he too was baffled.

The seller said Pilusa sounded legitimate, but the agent's action after receiving Dube's deposit shocked him.

"He told Dube that I was troublesome and would refuse to vacate the house after it was transferred into her name and offered her another house instead."

He said he e-mailed Pilusa and ordered him to remit the deposit into the attorneys account but this never happened. Sowetan is in possession of the e-mail confirming the seller's claims.

When approached for comment, Pilusa denied receiving R77000 from Dube. He also accused her of falsifying the bank statement Consumer Line faxed him.

But he later claimed that he had refunded Dube' a total of R50000 through her brother late in March.

Pilusa could, however, not give any proof to substantiate his claims, only insisting that he had refunded the money to a Fanwell Dube and that he acted professionally and in the interest of the buyer and the seller when he did so.

After much persuasion, Pilusa, who had not renewed his registration with the Estate Agency Affairs Board this year, said he would make a refund of only R25000, insisting the rest was paid to Fanwell Dube.

"That would teach her not to tell the world that she paid a deposit for the house into my account," he said.

Asked why he didn't deposit it back into Dube's account, he said Dube refused to give him her bank details.

When told the Estate Agency Affairs Board agreed to probe Dube's claims against him, Pilusa reluctantly promised to refund Dube her R77000.