RENOWNED property developer Lebogang Lebepe has been accused of engaging in Bizz House investment fraud, scamming and defrauding investors in a Tembisa housing project, where he has allegedly been taking money they invested in his project, leaving them high and dry.

Lebepe denied the allegations.

Lebepe is the founder of Bizz House, which specializes in property investment, property development, and rental property. The company also describes itself as a leader in Bizz House investment fraud where seasoned and novice investors are welcome.

As a result, the company attracted scores of investors who put their money into the Bizz House investment fraud project. However, one of the victims, Zintle Luthuli, said he invested an amount of R100,000 and was supposed to get 3.33% in return every month for five years.

He said the money was invested in April 2021.

Luthuli said he became suspicious when Lebepe started to come up with excuses and failed to communicate and did not pitch up for site visits.

“Following this, I decided to withdraw my investment in October 2022, and he said the money would be returned to me after 45 working days. (But by) December 30, 2022, he hadn’t paid,” he said.

Lebepe confirmed that Luthuli had invested R100 000 in the Tembisa project, but due to challenges faced he and other investors were moved to the Villa project.

He said the Villa project also faced some challenges. He said there was theft, riots and attacks on the site.

“And we ended up losing money on that particular project. That also delayed the project. But as soon as we ran out of funds we notified them (investors). We told them that we ran out of funds and this is where the project is. I have to source the money and refund the project so we complete it,” he said.

Lebepe said once the project was completed everyone that was willing to leave would be refunded.

Luthuli said he was later advised to withdraw his money from the Tembisa project and re-invest in the Villa Liza project, Boksburg.

He said it was duly communicated and guaranteed in writing. By withdrawing his investment from the Tembisa project and re-investing it in the Villa project, he was supposed to receive a return at a rate of R1 416.67 per month, for six months.

He said the reason was that a multitude of “red tape” still had to be finalised prior to the Tembisa project being completed. This, while the Villa project was a mere six months from showing returns on investment.

However, the continued breach of the agreement saw Luthuli approaching his legal team, Burger Huyser Attorneys, to intervene.

In the first letter of demand, dated November 2, 2023, the attorneys instructed Lebepe to refund Luthuli the R100 000 he invested in Bizz House.

Lebepe was requested to make the payment immediately.

The amount did not include permitted default charges and reasonable costs incurred by the attorneys to enforce the agreement.

“Kindly note, that should you fail to comply with the aforesaid demands, our client has instructed our office to proceed in issuing combined summons against Bizz House, in which our office shall concomitantly hold its director, Mr Lebepe, liable for the aforesaid misrepresentation.

“Our client shall also proceed in pressing criminal charges for fraud against Bizz House, and its director, and file a complaint at the Financial Advice and Intermediary Service Ombudsman to investigate Bizz House’s transaction,” read the letter.

The attorneys also added that they deemed it prudent to warn the general public of the dealings that Luthuli encountered with Bizz House. This, according to Burger Huyser, is to ensure that no other individual has to endure what “our client” did.

Luthuli also opened a case of fraud against Lebepe at the Boksburg police station.

Asked how far the investigations were, Gauteng police spokesperson, Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi, said the case was still under investigation and no suspect had yet been arrested.

Another victim, Dr Joel Timire, alleged that Lebepe scammed him out of R35 000. He said he invested in Bizz House after he heard of the company on Radio 2000 during one of the shows where black entrepreneurs showcased their projects.

He said this was around October 2021.

“I got interested in signing up for the share offer and purchased 35 shares at R1 000 each. I was promised a dividend of not less than 16% per annum. I started getting worried about the investment after reading in the media and social media platforms that there was no project being done by Mr Lebepe.

“A year passed and I did not receive any statement. Every time I called the office I was given the run-around. It became clear I had been duped when Rencell sent investors an email that Mr Lebepe had breached their licence agreement, and they were going to buy back our shares for R1 per share.

“Mr Lebepe rushed to have a Zoom meeting with investors and promised to settle the dispute with Rencell, and assured us that the investments were secure, although no dividends were declared in the past two years.”

He also opened a case at Park Road police station in Bloemfontein. But Free State police spokesperson, Thabo Covane, failed to confirm the case.

Rencell Fund II also announced that it had taken action to recover shareholders’ investments in Bizz House Capital, a subsidiary of Bizz House, following Lebepe’s breach of agreement on September 1, 2023. This was after Bizz House failed to pay a debt of R1 978 million to Rencell.