South Africa 22.8.2013 05:26 pm

Western Cape accountant’s appeal bid fails

The pair had been charged with stock theft.
Photo: Supplied

The pair had been charged with stock theft. Photo: Supplied

An accountant jailed for embezzlement was refused leave to appeal against his sentence in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town on Thursday.

Garth le Roux, 39, a married father of two, was jailed last month on 201 counts of fraud, involving R894,689.

Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg jailed him for five years on 158 counts of fraud, and an additional three years on a further 43 counts. She ordered that the sentences run concurrently, which meant he would serve the highest of the two sentences.

Le Roux had written a letter from prison, saying the five-year term was too harsh, and asked permission to take it on appeal.

In Thursday’s proceedings, the magistrate said she thoroughly considered all the facts at the time of passing sentence. She agreed with prosecutor Derek Vogel that there was no possibility of the sentence being reduced on appeal.

As the financial accountant, Le Roux had been responsible for the safeguarding of Pep Clothing’s daily petty cash float of R19,000. He manipulated the system for self-gain. One method used was to falsify wage claims that were paid from petty cash.

In another method, he manipulated subsistence claims lodged by consultants engaged from time to time, by inflating the amount claimed and keeping the excess for himself.

The third and fourth methods involved manipulation of petty cash claims lodged without supporting documents.

During his trial Pep Clothing’s financial manager, Arthur Meyer, described Le Roux as a competent accountant, and said company executives had been impressed with how strictly he had dealt with financial matters.

Meyer said he had never suspected any dishonesty from Le Roux. The embezzlement came to light after the payroll manageress expressed concerns about Le Roux.

He said the company wanted Le Roux jailed, but Sonnenberg ruled that the court’s decision had to be dispassionate, and not based on the sentiments of others.

Sapa

 

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