State team not legally appointed— Porritt

2011-05-31 00:00

THE former head of Tigon, Gary Porritt, and his ex-assistant, Sue Bennett, who face a total of 3 160 fraud and related charges in Gauteng, lodged an application last Friday to set aside the criminal proceedings against them on grounds that the prosecutors were not properly appointed, Business Day has reported.

The case has now been adjourned to July 26 to deal with various issues, including dates for hearing that application.

Business Day legal affairs correspondent Ernest Mabuza reported the application is one of a string the two accused have lodged since being served with indictments in 2006 over a collapsed investment scheme.

The charges facing Porritt and Bennett include fraud, theft, tax evasion and infringements of the Companies Act involving more than R200 million. The charges arise from the collapse of Tigon and the PSC Guaranteed Growth Fund, which wiped out the investments of 3 000 investors.

According to Business Day, the new application by Porritt and Bennett lists 12 respondents, including the national director of public prosecutions, the commissioner of the SA Revenue Service, prosecutors in the case and the ministers of justice and finance.

Only the justice minister and NDPP said they would oppose the application, with the others abiding by the court’s decision.

Business Day reported when the case was heard in March this year tht Porritt alleged in court that the prosecution team of Etienne Coetzee and Jan Ferreira is “illegitimate”.

Judge Geraldine Borchers then ordered the accused to prepare an application or be ready to plead to the charges.

The two accused are conducting their own defence, citing poverty.

Business Day reported that they spent R23 million on pre-trial applications before they applied for legal aid in 2007.

In 2009 Judge Borchers ordered Legal Aid SA to provide them with two advocates each to represent them at trial, but this ruling was overturned last September by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which ruled that the trial judge incorrectly found the accused had shown themselves to be indigent. — WR.

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