Ex-Fidentia boss frustrated

Cape Town - It would take “five minutes” to explain away many of the allegations levelled against him in his trial so far, says former Fidentia boss Arthur Brown.

He addressed the Western Cape High Court on Monday, saying that the proceedings were “frustrating” for him because it was difficult to sit and listen to the allegations against him and “just keep quiet”.

Arthur Brown at the Western Cape High Court. Photo: Jeffrey Abrahams. Credit: CAPE TIMES

“A lot of these things I can explain in five minutes and the picture would look very different,” he said.

Brown made these comments as chartered accountant Graham Maddock – Fidentia’s former financial director turned State witness – continued his testimony.

Maddock has been on the stand since last Tuesday when the trial began and is still in the process of submitting his evidence-in-chief.

He has testified on how investors’ money was allegedly splurged on beach properties, 4x4 vehicles and even to cover the company’s salaries.

According to Maddock’s testimony, R800 000 of Fundi Projects’s funds were used as a deposit on two properties, one of them in Sunset Beach, while the balance of R11 million was taken from Teta’s (Transport Educational Training Authority) investment.

A further R3m of Teta’s money was used to buy the vehicles. Maddock, however, is yet to be cross-examined.

Brown is representing himself, at least for now.

He has been granted legal aid but defence counsel Mornay Calitz, who was recently brought on board to represent him, said on Monday that Brown would ask the Legal Aid Board’s national office for the reinstatement of advocate Braganza Pretorius, who has previously represented him.

State advocate Jannie van Vuuren, SC, spent much of on Monday morning poring over transactions in bank account records with Maddock as part of his testimony.

But proceedings were cut short for the day when Judge Anton Veldhuizen raised questions about how time could be saved in the long run.

He believed that Brown would probably not dispute the actual flow of money, but rather the source of it.

Brown said he had a “couple of issues” that made such admissions difficult for him.

He still needed certain financial and extensive investment records that were in the possession of the curators.

Though he had requested them, he claimed that they hadn’t been handed over and that the curators were withholding the documents.

If he had these records, said Brown, the transactions Maddock was testifying about would become more clear.

“Then making admissions will be a lot easier and less risky for me,” he said.

Van Vuuren said there were a lot of funds flowing in and out of Fidentia, as well as other investments, that were not relevant to the charges against Brown.

However, Van Vuuren agreed to contact one of the curators, George Papadakis, in an attempt to get these documents.

The trial is expected to resume on Tuesday.