AFU and SIU granted order to freeze government land that was unlawfully transferred to private entities and individuals
The Pretoria Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) have been granted a preservation order by the High Court of South Africa: Gauteng Division, Pretoria, to freeze an agricultural holding and a farm in Gauteng Province valued at approximately R53 million, linked to the fraudulent transfer of government land to private entities and individuals. A similar preservation order was granted by the High Court on 9 September 2022, with a value of approximately R144 million, taking the total value of frozen assets to approximately R197 million.
The current order prohibits the following individuals and private entities from dealing in any manner with Holding 34 Beverley Agricultural Holdings and Portion 296 of the Farm Zuurfontein 33:
B and B media
Nicolas Martinaas Roets
The order follows an investigation by the SIU which revealed that individuals and private entities jointly and severally and with a common purpose defrauded the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and the respective Deeds Registries in Vryburg, Johannesburg and Pretoria by fraudulently transferring government property to individuals and private entities for their personal benefit.
Armed with the outcomes of its investigation, the SIU shared the evidence with the AFU, which approached the High Court for a preservation order to preserve government land that was unlawfully transferred. The SIU was, in terms of Proclamation R 7 of 2014 as amended by Proclamation R 599 of 2015 and Proclamation R 32 of 2017, authorised by the President of South Africa to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration relating to the transfer of government land to individuals and private entities.
The evidence gathered points to acts of fraud and corruption committed between January 2008 and February 2022. As part of the investigation, numerous affidavits were obtained by the SIU from internal DRDLR and Deeds Registry staff members, external witnesses and/or transferring attorneys.
In line with the SIU Act, the SIU referred evidence pointing to criminal conduct to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action. The referral had resulted in a criminal case being registered with the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks). This preservation order is part of the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption strategy by law enforcement agencies to strengthen its fight against corruption.
Source: Government of South Africa