Duped home buyer loses court case

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-A Windhoek resident who lost more than N$500,000 in a home deal that went sour lost her court case last week, seemingly on a technicality, leading to the acquittal of those she believed to have swindled her.
Magistrate Elina Nandago informed Fauster Claasen she would have had a stronger case if her case had been filed in the civil rather than the criminal court.

“If this court was a civil court, where proof on the balance of probability is required, then the court would have no choice but to rule in favour of the complainant, but the requirements here are different,” the judge said.
At the centre of it all was Laurence Maanda, the only person on trial to account for the disappearance of Claasen’s N$711,000. Maanda, who was facing a count of theft by false pretence and one count of acting as a state agent without a valid fidelity certificate, however, denied any guilt.
He was eventually acquitted last week on all charges.
Classen brought a criminal case against Maanda, Danville Beukes and Silvia Beukes for the losses she suffered in the process of trying to buy a house on Erf 3671 in Extension 3, Khomasdal in Windhoek. The house in question was reportedly on the market for N$850,000.
During her testimony, Claasen informed the court that she met Maanda through a family member, who introduced himself as a real estate agent.
Claasen allegedly made four electronic transfers to the three accused for the purchase of the house on Erf 3671.
The first transfer was in the amount of N$211,000, which was made as a deposit on the house on March 29, 2012.
The second payment made was in the amount of N$140,000 in April 2012. Maanda drafted a sales agreement upon the third payment in the amount of N$60,000.
Since the house was an attachment to the property of Hartlief, she was informed to make another payment of N$100,000 to secure the house. The last payment that she reportedly made was in the amount of N$200,000, which was deposited into a trust account of Golden Company.
The transfers amounted to N$711,000 in total.
During the trial, the State was prosecuting Maanda for having misrepresented himself as a real estate agent to Claasen, thus enticing her to enter into a sales contract.
“The court finds it doubtful if the accused was acting as an agent since there is no proof of payment for his services,” Nandago said before acquitting Maanda of all charges. Co-accused Danville and Silvia Beukes were also acquitted in October 2016 after the court found them to be innocent of the charges.

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