Telkom exec in house nightmare

04 March 2012 - 02:15 By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER

A SECRET deal to buy a Johannesburg mansion worth R100-million has become a "nightmare" for a Telkom executive - even triggering an investigation by the taxman into his finances.


Telkom's group executive of corporate development, Mzamo Michael Mlengana, 51, said that in 2008 his wife Patience, 41, was persuaded to buy the Sandhurst mansion for the widow of Rwandan telecommunications billionaire Miko Rwayitare.

The 4540m² home boasts a hairdressing salon, seven en-suite bedrooms, two kitchens and a movie theatre.

Miko died in 2007, and the house became the centre of a messy battle between his widow, Consolata, and architect Greg Pietersen, over unpaid fees.

In 2007 the architect proved Miko's estate owed him about R5.5-million. Shares in the company that owned the house - Propro Investments - were attached and sold, with Pietersen buying the business, and hence the mansion, for a mere R400000.

The home was then put up for auction in 2008 - and that is when Consolata asked Patience to secretly buy the house back for her.

The widow, who is involved in several legal battles both in South Africa and Rwanda over her late husband's estate, allegedly sent Patience R70-million to secretly buy back the house.

The house was in fact knocked down to Patience for R65-million.

A deed search revealed that a company called Clements Nominees Ltd gave Patience a R70-million bond for the house.

But now the mansion is back on the market for R78-million.

Mzamo said his wife and Consolata were "friends", but did not go into detail.

He said that recently, "Consolata asked my wife to sell the property as a matter of urgency.

"I do know the house is for sale ... but why, I really don't know."

Mzamo said his wife, who "owns that mansion only on paper", was overseas.

Mzamo said that in the wake of the deal between Consolata and Patience: "I had the SA Revenue Service come to my home investigating us, checking our books ... it was not nice."

He said: "I begged my wife not to get involved," and that he warned her to "get out" of the mess.

The executive, who has been with the parastatal for more than 17 years, is responsible for implementing Telkom's expansion strategy across Africa.

Consolata lives in Belgium and could not be reached for comment.

Mzamo said he was initially unaware of the deal that was struck in 2008.

A weeping Consolata had phoned Patience on the night before the auction and begged her to act as a proxy because Patience "was the only friend she knew in South Africa".

"My wife bought it for a friend while I was at work. I was so surprised when the newspapers called me and asked if I knew anything about it.

"I called my wife and asked her what she was doing. She said she was buying it for Conso ... and that Conso was going to send the money.

"The money was wired to her ... the owner is my wife only on paper ... but it belongs to Consolata."

Mzamo said Miko's widow could not buy the 8000m² estate and register it in her own name because she was involved in a "legal dispute" in South Africa - which included the wrangle over the ownership of the mansion.

The Rwandan billionaire died in Brussels at the age of 65 after complications during intestinal surgery in 2007.

The house is built entirely of sandstone in the style of the Union Buildings.