Former Northern Cape ANC chairperson faces asset seizure

2016-01-25 14:31
John Block (News24 Correspondent)

John Block (News24 Correspondent)

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Kimberley – The High Court in Kimberley will rule later on Monday whether to hear an application to confiscate the assets of former Northern Cape ANC chairperson John Block and businessman Christo Scholtz.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit wanted to seize property - including Block’s Upington guest house, which he allegedly upgraded using R2.7m in kickbacks - and assets belonging to Scholtz worth between R600m and R700m.

The defence, led by Jaap Cilliers, argued that the AFU’s application was flawed and should be dismissed.

Judge Mathebe Phatshoane was expected to make a ruling at 15:00.

Block and Scholtz were convicted of money laundering and corruption in October last year.

They were involved in leasing office space to the Northern Cape Social Development Department at inflated prices.

Scholtz was a director in Trifecta Holdings, which secured the tenders for the leases. 

The department rented Trifecta’s buildings in Kimberley, Upington and Springbok.

Block used his political influence to secure tenders for Trifecta and received kickbacks for his efforts. He had claimed that he was not in the state’s employ when the crimes were committed and that the money Trifecta paid him was for consulting services.

Once regarded as the most powerful man in the Northern Cape, Block - former provincial ANC chairperson and MEC - arrived at court on Monday alone, having driven himself.

Block resigned from his position as ANC provincial chair, ANC Northern Cape MPL, and economic development MEC, two days after the guilty verdict.

Another accused, former ANC MP Yolanda Botha, who served on Parliament’s social development portfolio committee when the crimes took place, died in December 2014. She had skin cancer, which spread to her brain.

Trifecta was accused of granting unsecured loans to Botha, which were never recorded in the company’s books.

Five days had been set aside for sentencing procedures. The trial had lasted more than three years.

The National Prosecuting Authority wanted a 15-year jail term for each of the accused. Block and Scholtz’s lawyers intended asking for non-custodial sentences.

Read more on:    john block  |  kimberley  |  corruption

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