Investigation opens a can of worms for actress and designer

A PLOT in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, believed to be owned by Dimakatso, sister of award-winning actress Terry Pheto, who with others is being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) over allegations of corruption and maladministration at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). This follows the alleged misappropriation of a R5 million grant from the NLC intended for this poultry farm.

The Special investigating Unit’s (SIU) probe into the R1.4 billion investigation involving the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has opened a can of worms for actress Terry Pheto, her sister Dimakatso and her designer friend Thula Sindi.

The three are subjects of an investigation after they were allegedly involved in the misappropriation of a R5 million grant that was meant to develop a chicken farm to benefit communities.

It now appears Pheto, along with Dimakatso, allegedly also procured the farm in the Vaal area fraudulently despite having allegedly embezzled the funds they used.

The Star, last week, reported that the SIU was at the tail end of the overall investigation that implicated the trio.

The three are now being accused by the previous owner of buying the chicken farm under false pretences.

The revelations come after the former owner of the chicken farm near Walkerville reached out to The Star after seeing the article.

The publication had reported that the SIU had found that Pheto had unduly benefited from R5m NLC grant funding.

The NLC had approved grant funding of that amount to Zibisibix Non-Profit Company for a chicken farm in December 2018.

However, after receiving the R5m, the funds were moved from the account and payments were made to different accounts, including that of Black Planet Trading, whose director is Sindi. The company was paid R140 000.

The farm was purchased for R850 000, and the SIU found that the former chairperson of the NLC board, Professor Alfred Nevhutanda, signed the offer to purchase the farm.

When The Star team visited the farm, it was in a dilapidated state with cracked walls of the building housing the tenants. The farm was surrounded by overgrown grass, shrubs and thickets.

The farm is in a state of disrepair, as if it was no longer maintained, while there was no sign showing it was a chicken farm except for the run-down abattoir.

The former owner, whose name is known to The Star and who was selling the farm for R3.8 million was allegedly tricked and the farm taken for R850 000.

More evidence revealed that the farm was purchased for the benefit of Dimakatso Pheto, who is Terry’s sister and is currently running the farm.

Speaking exclusively to The Star, the previous owner said he had received a R3.8m offer from a pastor, who is only known as Pastor Radebe. However, just before he signed the deal, a family friend who was an estate agent stopped the deal.

“This hurts me a lot when I think back … In 2018 I was selling my farm for R3.8m and there was Pastor Radebe who had given me the offer to purchase for R3.8m, so I employed an estate agent and asked them to go get the pastor to sign,” he said.

He said this was when the family friend who was also an estate agent came and duped him with a blank offer to purchase that he signed because he trusted her

“This family friend was the wife of my brother’s friend who I trusted … she came with a blank offer to purchase. A form which I signed because I trusted her. But she came back with R850 000 and refused to tell me who the people who bought it were. But I know now that it was Pheto and her sister because I was in contact with a Dimakatso,” he said.

He said the deal between himself and the pastor fell through because of the new sale, where he had much less money.

“That farm is meant for business; it even has an abattoir where you can slaughter the chickens. I begged the family friend to stop with whatever deal she was trying to secure because I had agreed and was content with myself that I would take the first deal, which was with the pastor. Unfortunately, I had signed the blank offer to purchase and was already defrauded,” he said.

The former owner said he was preparing to approach the high court to see in a bid to nullify the sale.

“I want the high court to reverse this sale. I’m in the process of getting a lawyer who will represent me on this issue,” he said.

He could not confirm whether the Pheto sisters and Sindi were involved with the estate agent in allegedly tricking him.

Efforts to reach Pheto and Sindi were unsuccessful as both of their phones were off, and Dimakatso’s phone rang unanswered.

However, last week it was reported that Sindi denied the allegations, saying he was a victim of malicious reporting.

He reportedly said: “My name has been used as part of a sensationalist, malicious and harmful campaign which has rearranged the facts to cast aspersions on my name.”

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