Property developer conned

A property developer who lost thousands of rands in an alleged share scam, described himself in court on Tuesday as a simple and basic person.

Lucas Engelbrecht testified in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, where property developer Nolke Roelevink pleaded not guilty to two fraud charges involving R667 000.

Engelbrecht and his business partner Charles van der Weijde were approached by Roelevink to invest in a development that would yield nearly three million rands for each of them

The approach was made after the three had attended a Christian men's breakfast.

"Very cautious"

Engelbrecht said he was "very cautious" by nature, but made an initial payment of R110 000.

It is only when documents with a signature had been presented to him by Roelevink at a meeting, that he felt satisfied about the deal and paid a second R110 000.

He said he and Van der Weijde were not given a copy of the document, as Roelevink said it contained sensitive and confidential information.

Questioned by prosecutor Jannie Knipe, he said he would have "run a mile" and not parted with his money to Roelevink had he known that the development in question had depended on a number of other factors.

One of the reasons that he had invested his R220 000 was the assurance that his money would be refunded if the development failed to materialise.

When he eventually realised that the transaction had turned sour, he and Van der Weidje asked Roelevink about the investment of their money.

Van de Weidje had invested R447 000.

No refunds

Roelevink told them that he was working hard at it, but that he could not give an undertaking to refund their money.

Engelbrecht said that in business there was always a possibility of a deal going wrong, and if that happened the honourable thing was always to refund the money.

"That's what I always expected and what I expect from them [Roelevink and his business partner, Jurgen Knopp]," he said.

A simple man

Questioned by the defence team, Advocate David Charles and attorney Melvern Jansen, Engelbrecht said he was a very basic person and did not pay attention to detail.

He said explanations that he was given about the proposed development were "all too complicated for me".

He added: "In retrospect, a lot of it was pie in the sky."

The case continues on Wednesday.

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