South Africa Media Report: Businessman Moss Mashishi says he has resigned as director of a medical cannabis company whose directors are accused of disappearing with more than R70-million of investor’s funds.

The report says

South African businessman Moss Mashishi says he has resigned as director of a medical cannabis company whose directors are accused of disappearing with more than R70-million of investor’s funds.

European investors filed a fraud charge against cannabis entrepreneur Willem van der Merwe, Dacha Corporation, and its directors in April this year after the company diverted €3.5-million into personal accounts.

These people always forget to take down their facebook profiles!


Website is still up too


Sunday World has seen bank deposits that were made to Dacha being transferred from Van der Merwe’s business account to the personal account of a family member. Van der Merwe and his wife paid 7 20 000 euros (about R14,3-million) for a 12-bedroom Italian mansion, according to a deed of sale around the same time as the transfers.

Van der Merwe confirmed in an interview with Sunday World that he had received the R70-million but claimed he had handed those funds to German authorities because he could not verify where the money came from.

Mashishi told Sunday World he decided to cut ties after picking up a series of red flags in the business’s governance structures. He said these included the company failing to honour its scheduled board meetings.

Mashishi said he had also lost interest in Van der Merwe’s cannabis business because of the industry’s regulatory red tape.

He said Van der Merwe had invited his company to take equity in Dacha “with the intention of pursuing business in the cannabis sector”.

Mashishi said he was introduced to Van der Merwe due to his involvement in the cannabis business and that his presentation “was quite compelling”.

However, he said they “elected to part ways because we did not want to pursue business in the cannabis sector anymore”.

“We got frustrated with this sector, which was not getting clearer. There was some discomfort on our part because we have a very tight governance approach in our company. We just became uncomfortable with governance overall and the sector itself without being clear. So, we thought there were other things we were busy with; we don’t need to spend energy and time in this sector that is not getting anywhere,” Mashishi said.

He said he had not spoken to Van der Merwe since 2022 when he resigned as a director and was not aware of the fraud case against him except what he had read in Sunday World last week.

When Mashishi resigned as a director of Dacha in September 2022, it had been two months after Van der Merwe found himself in the middle of an international cannabis e-growing scandal where 186 000 investors were allegedly swindled out of an eye-watering R13-billion.

As the CEO of JuicyFields, a cannabis e-growing platform, Van der Merwe enticed investors to purchase medical cannabis plants online for cultivation, packaging and sale. The promised profits were staggering.

Just days before the e-growing platform abruptly went offline in July 2022, he resigned from the company, leaving thousands of investors worldwide stranded and unable to withdraw their investments – many of whom had their entire life savings invested in JuicyFields.

Authorities launched investigations spanning several European countries in an attempt to recover as much of the allegedly stolen money as possible. At the time, Van der Merwe publicly stated he did not believe there was criminal intent on the part of the owners of JuicyFields.

There are at least 200 South Africans who have put their money into the scheme. Sunday World has seen a list showing small to large investments in the scheme.

It has been reported that Van der Merwe, who is currently residing in Zurich, Switzerland, is among the several suspects who were arrested in a massive international sting operation that was headed by Europol and involved 400 law enforcement authorities across 11 countries.

Following the operation, Europol announced that it, together with cooperation with law enforcement agencies across Europe, was able to seize money, luxury vehicles, and properties with an estimated value of R200-million.


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