Mervyn Dennis

Durban - A pensioner and former police officer who was allegedly defrauded of R400 000 of his pension money was the first witness to take the stand in the multi-million rand Ponzi trial against siblings Mervyn Dennis and his sister Mary-Anne Peter. 

The trial finally proceeded in the Pinetown Magistrates Court on Monday, more than 15 years after Moganberry Govender, 70, from Isipingo, and hundreds of other investors who lost their money to a Ponzi scheme allegedly run by Dennis and Peter. 

The pair convinced pensioners to invest their money with promises of good returns on the stock exchange.

The former police officer took a package and invested R400 000 of his R800 000 pension payout through Dennis’s company, Global Investments, in 2003.

Govender who seemed emotional through his evidence said he was promised by Dennis that his investment of R400 000 was going to earn him an interest of R8 000 a month. 

He said he had personally handed the cheque to Dennis in 2003 and for the first six months he did not receive the promised returns. 

The pensioner said he went to Dennis's offices at Mercury House in the Durban City Centre on several occasions to demand his money and said every-time he went there, only Peter and other staff members were in the office. 

Govender told the court that he was promised that his interest would be deposited in his bank account. 

He said that a year after investing, he received a total of R70 000 which were cheque and direct deposits made on different occasions. 

"I received two cheques of R20 000 and received R10 000 into my account about three times. In total I received a total of R70 000," he said

He said that was not what he was promised. 

The State alleges that Dennis started Global Investments in 1998 and encouraged investors to invest, with a promise that he would invest their money and get them excellent returns. 

Instead, he allegedly used the R139 million taken from people to fund a lavish lifestyle. 

It is alleged that only about R5m was invested on the stock market, R61m was used to repay investors, and the rest was spent on gambling, jewellery and cars.

Govender is expected to be cross-examined later on Monday.

Daily News