Former attorney jailed for hijacking building


A former attorney and his accomplice have been sentenced to several years behind bars after they hijacked a building in the Johannesburg inner city.

Sinethemba Mkhumbuzi‚ 43‚ and Kenneth Ntila‚ 58‚ were sentenced to 8 and 15 years imprisonment‚ respectively‚ on Wednesday after they fraudulently sold the Angus Mansions building‚ mayor Herman Mashaba said. The sentencing follows their fraud conviction on September 4 in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

“Between August and November 2006 the pair identified loopholes in the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) website‚ falsified company records and registered themselves as the owners of Angus Mansions.

The 67 units building was owned by Philani Ma-Africa‚ a section 21 company‚” Mashaba explained in a statement. “After changing ownership of the building Mkhumbuzi and Ntila then presented themselves as directors of Philani Ma-Africa and sold Angus Mansions for R3.5-million. When they found a buyer for the building‚ they produced fraudulent CIPRO documents‚ which indicated that they were the directors the company.”

The tenants of the building were evicted‚ leaving many living on the street. One evicted tenant died.

“I am sad to learn that an elderly person that was evicted from the property allegedly died due to exposure. These criminals wanted to make sure that the property was vacant so that the new owners could take occupation‚” Mashaba said.

In 2009‚ the rightful owners turned to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to have the sale of Angus Mansions set aside. The court also scrapped the eviction order that had led to the residents being kicked out of the building.

“Eleven hijacked properties have been handed back to their rightful owners and we have also arrested three property hijackers in the last three weeks. About 164 buildings are confirmed as hijacked in the City‚” Mashaba said.

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