Homes and cars seized in swoop over IPTS

Warren Myburgh, left, of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, checks paperwork with curator Mike Timkoe
Picture: Mark West

Police were called out by alleged fraudster Andrea Wessels when the sheriff of the court arrived at her house in Summerstrand to serve her with a court order to seize property to recoup millions of rands she allegedly siphoned from Nelson Mandela Bay’s Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS).

Sheriff of the high court Skulu Majola, accompanied by Warren Myburgh of the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), curator Mike Timkoe and members of the media descended on the Rubin Crescent property owned by Wessels at 4pm.

Wessels, a Uitenhage businesswoman, was at the house at the time.

Her brother, Roland, opened the security gate to allow access to the property, but when Wessels saw members of the media entering she called the police.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesman Tsepo Ndwalaza, who was present, said the sheriff was serving a high court order on Wessels informing her that the Rubin Crescent property, another property in Winchester Way, also in Summerstrand, as well as moveable assets, including vehicles owned by her and her children, would be attached and seized.

“We are coming to attach the property of Wessels, with the understanding that her son and daughter also benefited with cars and houses,” he said.

Wessels has been linked to the Hawks’ multimillion-rand fraud investigation into the beleaguered IPTS.

She was arrested on March 31, along with former EP Rugby Union boss Cheeky Watson, former Laphum’ilanga director Mandisi Mkasa and former metro finance department director Nadia Gerwel, after a lengthy investigation into corrupt activities related to R208-million earmarked for the IPTS.

It is alleged that Wessels conspired with Gerwel to defraud the metro in a manner designed to give them unlawful access to IPTS funds.

It is alleged that Gerwel and Wessels, described in court papers as close friends, used an events management company, ESP Africa, as a vehicle to launder the money.

Wessels and her co-accused, who handed themselves over to the police on March 31, were granted R2 000 bail after appearing in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court the same day.

Ndwalaza said Wessels had 14 days to counter the court order and prove non-involvement. A total of R11-million is being sought by the AFU from Wessels “and others”. Ndwalaza did not specify who the others were.

“We don’t want to talk about other people until we have done all the groundwork,” he said.

Wessels’s events company, Zeranza, was also listed as a respondent in the court order.

After the court order was served on Wessels at the Rubin Crescent property and an inventory taken of all the assets in the double-storey house, the group made their way to the Winchester Way property which, according to a source close to the case, is registered in Wessels’s daughter’s name.

However, the key to the lavish doublestorey property did not work and the other set of keys was supposedly stored at Wessels’s business premises in Uitenhage.

The source said the Rubin Crescent property had been bought in 2014 for R2.5-million, while the Winchester Way house was bought the same year for R3.795-million.

The Uitenhage property in Couldridge Crescent was bought for R800 000 in 2013.

Ndwalaza said the investigation was ongoing and that “other people will come out and they will be dealt with as well”.

Wessels declined to comment last night.

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