Friday, April 6, 2012

Fidentia fraud accused 'seriously ill'

Johannesburg - One of two men accused of defrauding Fidentia Holdings of millions of rands was not fit to stand trial because he has advanced Parkinsons disease, the Bellville Commercial Crime Court heard on Thursday.

Defence attorney William Booth, representing Melvyn Ivor Cunningham, 70, presented neurological reports and argued that Cunningham's condition was at such an advanced state he was not fit to stand trial at all.

Cunningham was in the dock with chartered accountant David Anthony Warren, 42. Both are charged with fraud relating to the company Fidentia Holdings.

Prosecutor Max Orban said Fidentia Holdings, represented between the years 2005 and 2006 by the company's then chief executive J Arthur Brown, bought shares in the MI Cunningham Trust for R160m.

This was on the strength of false financial statements allegedly prepared and audited by Warren.

Booth told the court he was hopeful the charge against Cunningham would be withdrawn on compassionate grounds.

Orban said he needed time to study the reports, and that he, Booth and attorney Lee-Anne Wolpe, representing Warren, had agreed to a postponement to May 3.


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