John Block, Christo Scholtz corruption saga comes to an end

2019-10-01 20:38
Christo Scholtz and  John Block. (File, Charné Kemp)

Christo Scholtz and John Block. (File, Charné Kemp)

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Finality has been brought to the corruption case of former Northern Cape finance MEC John Block and businessman Christo Scholtz following the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) judgment in upholding the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) confiscation of R59.8m belonging to the Trifecta Group.

Former ANC bigwig Block was found guilty of corruptly using his political influence to ensure that Scholtz's Trifecta group of companies were awarded lease agreements with various Northern Cape government departments between 2006 and 2008.

News24 previously reported that, in exchange, Block received gratifications, including two payments of R228 000 and R500 000. They were found guilty and convicted for corruption and money laundering in the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley.

READ: Former Northern Cape MEC John Block starts 15-year prison sentence

While both Block and Scholtz are currently serving their prison sentences, Trifecta appealed the Asset Forfeiture Unit's (AFU) confiscation of more than R59m.

According to an NPA statement, the apex court dismissed the company's application for leave to appeal and condonation against the Kimberly High Court's decision on the basis that there was no proper explanation for the lengthy delay of approximately 10 months before such applications were launched and there were no prospects of success.

National NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said after the conviction a confiscation order of more than R6m was granted on December 6, 2016, in respect of profit Trifecta had derived and retained from six corruptly acquired lease agreements and more than R53m pertaining to an added advantage gained due the fact that no competitive tender procedures were followed when the leases were awarded.

READ MORE: Forfeiture unit wants millions in assets from ANC bigwig Block, businessman Scholtz

"The confiscation process followed the provisions of Section 18 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act [POCA] 121 of 1998 which targets the fruits of unlawful activities," Makeke added.

"Before the High Court, the AFU argued that Trifecta had not furnished all the financial statements pertaining to the benefit it corruptly received. Justice Phatsoane directed the parties to meet and agree the sum to be confiscated i.e. R59.8m.

"At the SCA, Trifecta unsuccessfully attempted to renege from such an agreement. Justice Tshiqi held that the agreement reached by the parties over the R59.8m was clear and there was no legal basis for interpreting it in any different fashion."

The NPA welcomed the judgment, saying that it brought both the criminal and financial matter to a close after the case commenced in 2011.

The R59.8m will be returned to National Treasury.

Read more on:    john block  |  corruption

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