Bizarre twist in trial

2014-07-17 00:00

DURBAN businessman Ian Brakspear has subpoenaed one of South Africa’s richest men to help fight his court case. He is accusing one of South Africa’s biggest law firms of fraud.

The subpoena is part of a bizarre trial expected to sit in August, which will see two senior sitting judges take the stand in a case Brakspear believes will expose widespread forgery of high court orders in Durban.

At the pinnacle of his claim Brakspear has accused Africa’s largest law firm, ENS, and its insolvency director Leonard Katz of knowingly perpetrating the forgery of liquidation orders.

Global luxury business billionaire Johann Rupert became involved in the web of intrigue when he bought a 85-hectare Klein Normandie farm in the exclusive Franschhoek valley in Western Cape owned by Brakspear for R25 million during the liquidation.

Rupert has refused to take the stand, with his lawyers indicating he will challenge any subpoena.

In a letter to Brakspear on Monday, Rupert’s lawyer Richard Marcus called the subpoena “an abuse of process” and that their client was not involved when the liquidation was taken out against West Dune Properties in early 2009. Marcus demanded the subpoena be withdrawn yesterday morning or face high court action.

But Brakspear — representing himself — has refused to back down and said he has subpoenaed Rupert because he was the beneficiary of a fraudulent liquidation.

“I am not concerned about the farm. We initially attempted to gain the support of Rupert and avoid him having to give evidence in the dock but he has declined, hence we needed to subpoena him.”

He is contesting that an order granted in December 2008 at the Durban high court and used as the foundation of his subsequent liquidation, was a fake. He wants the order declared “null and void”.


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ALREADY the Hawks have — in the complex case which involves a Nedbank Group subsidiary based in the UK’s Jersey island — compiled a dossier proving the order was fake.

In October The Witness obtained the dossier which contained affidavits by high court registry officials confirming that they did not sign any order used to liquidate Brakspear’s company.

The case is expected to sit from August 11. The trial date was set by KZN Judge President Chiman Patel.

Judges Sharmaine Balton and Trevor Gorven are likely to be subpoenaed as witnesses. Balton was the sitting judge when the December 2008 order was allegedly granted.

Katz has previously said Brakspear’s application is “entirely without foundation and devoid of truth”.

Marcus was unable to provide any further comment at the time of going to press. — Witness Reporter.

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