Knee injury delays R6.8m fraud case

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Cape Town - A knee injury to a defence lawyer delayed pre-sentencing proceedings of a bookkeeper convicted of 402 counts of fraud involving two supermarkets and a Mugg & Bean restaurant on Friday.

Bookkeeper Leonora Elizabeth Bruyns, 55, of Fish Hoek in Cape Town, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

Last month, she pleaded guilty to fraud involving R6 812 196, with sentencing proceedings to have commenced on Friday.

However, defence attorney William Booth was absent due to a knee injury, and attorney Anthony Berinato stood in for him.

Berinato handed to the court a medical certificate, indicating that Booth could not resume duties before July 7.

Berinato said he could not pursue the case on Booth's behalf.

Prosecutor Zama Matayi told the court Booth had in fact attended proceedings in the Western Cape High Court this week, despite his knee injury.

Berinato said Booth had been ordered by Judge President John Hlophe to attend proceedings.

Sonnenberg postponed the case to July 25, and similarly ordered Booth to attend the proceedings when the case was next called.

If unable to, the attorney standing in for Booth had to be prepared to finalise the case, she said.

According to the charge sheet, Bruyns was appointed bookkeeper in March, 2002, for the company Pine Convenience (Pty) Ltd, which owned two Kwikspar supermarkets and one Mugg & Bean restaurant.

She created fictitious beneficiaries on the company bank accounts, such as the SA Revenue Service, the Orion Provident Fund, a staff loan, and the Gidani Lotto, and then diverted money intended for the beneficiaries into her own bank accounts.

Bruyns was caught out in November 2012 when FNB's commercial division reported fraudulent transfers from the company accounts into hers to company director Michael Flower.

According to the charge sheet, she used the money to pay accounts and for general expenses.

Sapa


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