Capitec fraud case gets technical

By Drum Digital
08 May 2013

The fraud trial of former Capitec official Faick Davids developed into a trial-within-a-trial in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Chartered accountant Andre Olivier told the Bellville Commercial Crime Court he obtained permission from the company's IT division to access Davids's e-mail inbox for any urgent e-mails that may have needed attention after Davids had left the company.

Defence lawyer Yvette Isaacs objected to Olivier testifying about the e-mails, saying his access to Davids's e-mails, without his permission, was a violation of his constitutional right to privacy.

Her objection led to the trial-within-a-trial, in which she contended that Olivier's testimony was inadmissible and, if allowed, would result in an unfair trial.

Olivier said: "My access of the e-mails was strictly for business purposes, and I take the strongest exception to any suggestions that I did so for other reasons."

Davids previously held a management post, together with Olivier, at Boland Bank, which was taken over about 10 years ago, first by the Board of Executives and then by Nedbank.

Olivier joined Capitec, at the time a small micro-lending business, and built it into a bank of significance.

In the process, he recruited Davids in June 2001 for his branch management skills and "high levels of energy", to become his "right-hand-man" at Capitec.

According to prosecutor Derek Vogel, Davids "shocked" everyone at Capitec nine years later with his resignation to join competitor African Bank.

On the fraud charge, Davids is alleged to have fraudulently accessed Capitec electronic data, for unauthorised purposes, prior to leaving Capitec's employ.

Davids is also charged with violating the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECTA), relating to his alleged unauthorised access to the data.

He has pleaded not guilty to both counts, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

The hearing continues on July 24.

-Sapa

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