File Photo: Clyde Robinson

Cape Town - Two men accused of duping former chief executive of the Fidentia Holdings Group J Arthur Brown into purchasing R160 million shares in the company Webworths were found not guilty of fraud on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Max Orban alleged that the shares were worth much less, and that the transaction was based on false financial statements prepared and audited by chartered accountant David Warren.

At the time of the transaction, between 2005 and 2006, Webworths was owned by the MI Cunningham Trust, which in turn was owned by Melvyn Ivor Cunningham.

Both Warren and Cunningham appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday, where magistrate Sabrina

Sonnenberg granted a defence application for their acquittal and discharge.

Sonnenberg ruled there was no evidence against the two men on which the court could convict them, as contended by the defence teams, Mike Hellens SC; Harold Jacobs, for Cunningham; and Ash Ramlaal and Mark Nixon, for Warren.

She said the financial statements on which the transaction was based might have been inaccurate, but that negligence could never be equated to a deliberate misrepresentation.

There was in any event no proof that Brown had acted on the financial statement in question, she said.