Block, co-accused deny guilty

Kimberley - Northern Cape ANC leader John Block and his co-accused pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to fraud charges involving millions of rands.

Block, two other provincial African National Congress leaders, and a company director face fraud, corruption, and money laundering charges in the Kimberley High Court.

Northern Cape ANC chairman John Block is on trial for fraud and corruption. File photo: Bongiwe Mchunu. Credit: INLSA

Judge Mathebe Phatshoane is presiding over the trial of Block, Alvin Botes, Yolanda Botha, and Trifecta director Christo Scholtz.

The National Prosecuting Authority alleges the Trifecta Group entered into a number of lease agreements with the Northern Cape social development department in which rentals, or rental space, were grossly inflated.

As a result, the Trifecta Group received, or would receive, rentals of R57 million at the end of the lease agreements.

Phatshoane asked all the accused how they would plead.

Scholtz, Block, Botes, and Botha pleaded not guilty.

Jaap Cilliers, for Scholtz, read out his plea explanation in court. He denies all charges against him or acting in an unlawful way.

A plea explanation was also read out for a group of companies represented by Scholtz.

Salie Joubert, for Block and Botes, then read plea explanations for the two men into the court record.

Botha also handed in a plea explanation.

Earlier, prosecutor Peter Serunye told the court the three officials against whom charges were withdrawn on Monday were not totally free.

He submitted they would face charges in relation to the Trifecta matter in lower courts at a later stage.