Wine farm fraud accused pleads not guilty
A Port Elizabeth man who convinced scores of people to invest in a residential golf estate, wine farm and restaurant in Jeffreys Bay, pleaded not guilty yesterday after being charged with fraud and theft, totalling almost R8-million.
Gregory Ferguson, 43, was behind what would have become the wine centre of the Eastern Cape – the Cob Creek Estate.
But instead, he appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court yesterday on fraud and theft charges.
Ferguson handed himself over to the police in December 2016.
It is alleged that he went behind his business partners’ backs to sell off some of Cob Creek’s shares.
He also allegedly stole more than R6-million from the business account.
Cob Creek Estate (Pty) Ltd was established in 2005 with the purpose of developing a portion of land along the Kabeljous River. Initially, Ferguson and business partners Liziwe and Adelheid Peltenburg each held a 33.33% share in the business.
Operational funding was sourced by way of loans and bank overdrafts. Ferguson was listed as a signatory on the bank account and the only person able to access the account via internet banking. The matter will be heard today. Ferguson’s defence attorney, Dean Murray, said: “The matter could not proceed [yesterday]. We were ready but the witness is Dutch-speaking and there was no interpreter available.”