2 minute read
4 Oct 2013
6:21 pm

Application to quash fraud charge

Judgment is expected on Monday in an application to quash a multi-million rand fraud charge against two men accused of duping J Arthur Brown into purchasing R160 million shares in the company Webworths.

Prosecutor Max Orban alleges that the shares were worth much less, and that the transaction, which took place while Brown was CEO of Fidentia, 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 are to go on trial for fraud later this month, in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town if in fact the court rejects the application to quash the charge on Monday.

In proceedings on Friday, Michael Hellens SC, for the defence, told magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg the charge sheet had to provide the accused with adequate details of the charge, to enable them to prepare a defence.

Hellens said the details furnished by Orban were so inadequate as to compel the court to order the charge quashed.

“An accused is entitled to the offence being set out in the charge sheet, in such a manner as may be reasonably sufficient to inform the accused of the nature of the charge,” said Hellens.

He said Orban’s answers to the defence’s request for further particulars were “both inadequate and confusing”. Hellens said the State had failed to provide adequate particulars, and that the charge therefore had to be quashed.

Orban, in turn, accused Warren and Cunningham of “blatant dishonesty” for claiming not to understand the charge.

Their claim that they had not been provided with sufficient information to prepare their defence was also blatantly dishonest, he said. In their request for further particulars, they had asked a large number of repetitive questions, he said.

In any event, the mere fact that Warren and Cunningham did not understand the charge was not to say that the charge was deficient, on an objective evaluation, Orban said.