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Fraudster, 71, cleared on extra charges

2012-10-05 22:18

Cape Town - A convicted fraudster was found not guilty by the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday of additional charges of fraud and theft.

The charges were not linked to those for which he started serving a six-year prison sentence in November.

Magistrate Kenneth Pieterse said the latest charges related to 71-year-old Andries Marais's R6m purchase of steel, vehicles and earthworks equipment from businessman Will Bertus Visser.

Prosecutor Simone Liederman alleged that Marais falsely presented to Visser that he had the money to pay for the transaction.

Marais was in the dock with his sons Reginald and Daniel Botha, both 45, both of whom were also cleared of the charges.

Marais senior told the court he had been in the construction business for 17 years, but that he had sold all his possessions including petrol stations, his construction business and his home.

When asked about the lack of funds in his Nedbank account at the time of the transaction, he told the court he had moved his money to a different bank.

Marais's sons comforted him after judgment was delivered, and embraced him as he was led back to the holding cell to continue his earlier jail sentence.

Pieterse said there was no proof of fraudulent intent in the Visser transaction, but that the results may have been different had the three been charged with contravening the Companies Act.