Fidentia witness absent

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IOl fidentia brown INLSA Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown

Cape Town - The embezzlement trial of former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown 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.

During Maddock's testimony on Tuesday, Judge Anton Veldhuizen had offered for the witness to sit, but Maddock politely declined and continued standing.

He would undergo a hip operation in a week and be unavailable for at least a week after that.

Brown faces 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 South Africa has ever seen.

The State alleges Brown ran a pyramid scheme and used investors' funds for his personal gain.

The biggest chunk of money that went missing from Fidentia was over R1 billion 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 is also accused of soliciting a R200 million investment from the state-owned Transport, Education and Training Authority (Teta) by giving Teta CEO Piet Bothma a R6m bribe.

Veldhuizen postponed the trial to Monday. Other State witnesses would be called to testify. - Sapa

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