News24

Fidentia accused represents himself

2012-11-19 18:59

Cape Town - Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown has brought an application for "further discovery" in his fraud trial in the Western Cape High Court.

Representing himself, he said the State provided him with evidence on a CD, but witness statements were illegible. He has also requested more "source documents".

Brown faces nine charges - four of fraud, two of corruption, two of theft, and one of money laundering.

More than R1bn allegedly disappeared from the Living Hands Trust which was controlled by Fidentia.

The trust was responsible for making payments to thousands of widows and orphans of mineworkers. Brown was arrested in March 2007 and has had at least six different legal counsel since the start of the case.

Earlier on Monday, Brown referred to a forensic report that concluded he was running a Ponzi scheme.

He said the forensic expert, George Papadakis, did not attach any "source documents to that report".

He disputed the amount of money the State believed he stole from the Living Hands Trust and said the R1.13bn was "with respect, your Lordship, not accurate".

The State also alleges that Brown instructed R5m be withdrawn from one of Fidentia's companies, Infinity.

Brown, however, denied the money was stolen from what he termed Infinity's "electronic wallet".

He made the point that a senior investigating officer in the case once said to him "something may look like fraud, but when one has all the documents it no longer does".

He argued that to defend himself he would need all the documents.

Brown told the court: "I don't want to continue this trial for five or six years. I want to stand before you in a year and hear your verdict."

But State advocate Jannie van Vuuren said: "It's my opinion that we've given him everything he needs to prepare his case."

He told Brown he could peruse more than 40 files of bank statements as well as a further 36 files. Apparently annoyed with Brown's requests, he said: "It's games that we're playing."

Judge Anton Veldhuisen postponed the trial to Tuesday.