Former Northern Cape ANC chairman John Block (right) and Christo Scholtz, CEO of Trifecta Holdings (Pty) Ltd. Picture: Soraya Crowie/Independent Media

Kimberley - Former Northern Cape ANC provincial chairman, John Block, and the CEO of the Trifecta group of companies, Christo Scholtz, were each sentenced to an effective 15 years imprisonment in the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday after a four-year-long trial.

The accused were found guilty of corruption and money laundering in October 2015 where government leases exceeding R100 million were facilitated with the Trifecta group of companies in Kimberley, Upington, Kuruman, Springbok and Douglas, in exchange for kickbacks.

The Trifecta group of companies was issued with a R1,2 million fine while Block’s defunct company, Chisane Investments (Pty) Ltd, was spared from prosecution as it has since been liquidated.

Block, who still maintains that he is innocent, has 30 days in which to surrender R2 million of his assets to the state and make a deposit into National Treasury’s account.

Scholtz will have R60 million of his assets confiscated.

The accused will also be liable to pay additional curators fees.

The accused will remain free pending an application for leave to appeal both their conviction and sentencing at the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

According to Block’s legal representative Advocate Salie Joubert SC, a judge, who is known to the defence, overheard a telephonic conversation, between the presiding officer (Judge Phatsoane) and Northern Cape High Court Judge President, Frans Kgomo, indicating that she should “convict the bastards.”

Phatsoane, however, dismissed an application that was lodged against her by the defence, who requested the Judicial Services Commission to investigate her alleged impartiality.

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