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Trifecta judge won’t step down

Bloemfontein - Northern Cape High Court Judge Mathebe Phatshoane on Thursday dismissed a bid for her recusal in the fraud trial of the Trifecta group and three senior ANC officials.

Phatshoane held that some statements used in the application were “putting words in my mouth” and could not be justified from the court record.

Cellphone image of Northern Cape ANC leader John Block (R) on trial for fraud and corruption in the Northern Cape High Court. Credit: SAPA

Trifecta director Christo Scholtz and Northern Cape ANC heavyweights John Block, Alvin Botes and Yolanda Botha, brought the recusal application on the grounds of a possible reasonable apprehension of bias against them.

They contended the bias against the accused could be found in remarks in a ruling in which Phatshoane dismissed their acquittal applications earlier this month.

The accused face charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering.

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.

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

Delivering judgment in the recusal applications on Thursday, Phatshoane said nothing she stated in her ruling for the acquittal applications could not be justified from the court records.

She found that instances referred to and the extracts quoted by the accused from the acquittal judgment were taken totally out of context.

Phatshoane, who held she was not persuaded that a proper case was made out for her recusal, dismissed the application.

Sapa

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