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Witness glitch in Fidentia trial

Jan 30 2013 12:40 Sapa

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Cape Town - The Fidentia embezzlement trial was postponed in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday morning because a witness was absent.

Former Fidentia accountant Graham Maddock would have continued his testimony regarding bank statements, but had been advised otherwise by his doctor, prosecutor Jannie van Vuuren told the court.

"I received a call from the witness this morning that his doctor has advised him from moving around. He has serious problems getting in and out of his car with his hip [problem], and standing," he said.

Van Vuuren said Maddock's doctor had prescribed painkillers and would write up a medical notice for the court.

"Ask his doctor if he has something for me. I need a painkiller tomorrow," the judge responded.

Former Fidentia CEO J Arthur Brown is standing trial for allegedly running a pyramid scheme and using investors' funds for his personal gain.

He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud, two counts of corruption, one count of money-laundering and two counts of theft. He was arrested in 2007 in one of the biggest financial scandals in South Africa.

The biggest chunk of money that went missing from Fidentia was over R1bn from the Living Hands Umbrella Trust, formerly the Mantadia Asset Trust Company (Matco).

The trust paid money from the mineworkers' provident fund to the widows and orphans of workers killed in mine accidents.

Brown was also accused of soliciting a R200m investment from the state-owned Transport, Education and Training Authority (Teta) by giving Teta CEO Piet Bothma a R6m bribe.

Van Vuuren said other witnesses could only be called on Tuesday, but he would try move this forward to Monday. He would spend the next few days consulting with Brown on admissions so as not to waste time.

Maddock was to undergo a hip operation next week and would be unavailable for at least a week after that.

Brown, who was representing himself, told the court he would like to cross-examine Maddock before other witnesses took the stand.

"There are source documents which I'd like to introduce during cross-examination, which will reveal my defence to the court," he said.

He said it would be prejudicial to him if this could not take place.

The judge postponed the trial until Monday and allowed the State to prepare its next witnesses.

They would testify and only be cross-examined by Brown after Maddock's cross-examination.


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fidentia  |  j arthur brown  |  pyramid scheme



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