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Sharemax Investigation Reopened?

Sharemax and the media never had a cosy relationship. In the early days, Deon Basson published a number of articles in which he asked searching questions which eventually led to legal action by Sharemax. After his death, Julius Cobbett, on behalf of Moneyweb, took up the cudgels and succeeded after three years to get access the shareholder registers of several companies in the Nova group.

Subsequently, Ryk van Niekerk of Moneyweb continued to pursue the matter. This eventually led to the Nova Group suspending correspondence with Moneyweb.

An article in Moneyweb Today states that the National Prosecuting Authority asked the Hawks to reopen an investigation into the troubled property syndication.

“Forensic auditor André Prakke, who has been closely involved with the Sharemax investigation, confirmed that the National Prosecuting Authority has requested the Hawks to reopen it. Another independent source also confirmed this.”

“The original charge was laid in 2010, but not much has happened since then.” Presumably, the Hawks had more pressing issues, like the so-called Rogue Unit at SARS, to investigate.

The Moneyweb article states that Prakke confirmed that two other cases have already been filed in the high courts in Bloemfontein and Durban and would be heard later this year.

“In both cases individual investors are suing Nova, the Nova directors and financial advisors to refund their investments. These are investors that don’t want to be bound by the jurisdictional limits of R800 000, which the FAIS Ombud is limited to. It is important to note that some of these investments were made after the Reserve Bank’s investigations had started and directives were issued. These facts were never disclosed by Sharemax or their brokers in any prospectus registered and issued.”

A further two cases concern a possible class action suit against Nova and the Nova directors, to sue the directors in their personal capacities, and action “…led by Deon Pienaar, a broker representing hundreds of investors that are fighting seven legal battles (in high court cases) against different regulatory bodies of various failed property syndication schemes such as Realcor, Kings and Bluezone.”

Pienaar intends applying “…to have the original directive of the Reserve Bank and the formation of the 311 Scheme of Arrangement declared unlawful.”

The detailed report in Moneyweb Today can be read here.

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