Maria Oosthuizen, financial administrator at the Old Johannesburg Warehouse Auctioneers, told the Johannesburg Specialised Crimes Court how the company bosses panicked in April when they realised Elizabeth Nyathi,53, had allegedly duped them by making fake payments to settle items worth R721579 she purchased from four auctions.
The antique goods included seven Rolex watches, diamond and gold rings, kitchenware and furniture, which Nyathi had bought between January and April. About 90% of the goods that the auction house sells are from private individuals and, once sold, takes a percentage from the sale.
“We lost R720 000. We had to stand in for that loss and find the means to pay back the sellers. It’s a small industry and our reputation was at stake,” said Oosthuizen.
The company had to seek bank loans, one of the auctioneers, Filip Taylor Parkins, told The Star in May.