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Trifecta audit report questioned

Kimberely - Some calculations in the Trifecta forensic report could be based on the wrong set of facts, the Northern Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Judge Mathebe Phatshoane is hearing evidence in a fraud and corruption case against Northern Cape ANC heavyweights John Block, Alvin Botes, Yolanda Botha, and Trifecta director Christo Scholtz.

Seen here are some of the files that will be used as evidence in the Trifecta court case. Picture: Danie Van der Lith. Credit: Danie Van der Lith

Jaap Cilliers, SC, for Scholtz and some of the Trifecta companies, continued cross-examining PWC forensic auditor Trevor White on Tuesday.

“In your testimony of R24 million potential prejudice... in this lease you have defamed the accused, wrongly,” submitted Cilliers.

The evidence questioned was about the potential prejudice for the state in the office space leased in the old Oranje Hotel building in Upington from Trifecta.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) 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.

The accused have all pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them or their companies.

On Tuesday, the court heard the department negotiated the old Oranje Hotel lease on behalf of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) at the time.

The lease was ceded to Sassa a day after the department signed the agreement with Trifecta.

It was submitted Sassa again entered into its own agreement with Trifecta later, meaning there were actually three legal agreements with Trifecta for the same office space in the Oranje Hotel building.

Cilliers further argued the State's charges against Trifecta and Botha relate to the first lease agreement which was in place for only one day.

“Do you agree with me as a result, on the conduct of Trifecta and accused 8 (Botha), there is no actual prejudice?

“The court's interest in that agreement should stop,” said Cilliers.

White replied that he brought all (three) agreements before court, he confirmed how he arrived at his calculations and he stood by his calculations.

He conceded that a sub-lease agreement by Sassa of the space they did not use, rented out for the same amount they paid Trifecta, should not have been calculated into the potential prejudice amount.

Earlier, Cilliers submitted White's report had many example's where the findings were not based an clear sets of documents.

“Many relevant documents were not provided to you,” Cilliers put to White.

Cilliers told the court the forensic report should be regarded cautiously.

“You (White) may have created the wrong impressions.”

Cilliers further questioned White's approach in compiling the report.

The case continues.

Sapa

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