Monday, October 07, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Bredenkamp acquitted in $4.2m fraud trial
12/09/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

MILLIONAIRE businessman John Arnold Bredenkamp has been cleared over an alleged swindle involving US$4.2 million.

Justice Felistus Chatukuta on Thursday granted an application by Bredenkamp’s lawyers for discharge made at the close of the prosecution case on Tuesday.

During his two-day trial which opened on Monday, Bredenkamp had denied defrauding former Sahawi International director, Yaqub Ibrahim Mohammed, in a 2002 loan deal.

Justice Chatukuta said the evidence presented by prosecutors had “no relationship to the fraud charge”. The state had also failed to clearly distinguish the borrower and lender, she added.

Prosecutors had alleged that Bredenkamp misrepresented to Mohammed that he would pay back the money once he sold his mine, Kababankola Mining Company (KMC), in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The court heard that Bredenkamp sold his DRC mine in 2006, but would not repay the loan and became evasive prompting Mohammed to report the matter to the police.

The judge said prosecutors had failed to prove that Bredenkamp, who owned a substantial stake in KMC, had borrowed the money in a personal capacity.

The judge criticised prosecutors for succumbing to pressure by Mohammed to use the criminal court to recover his debt over what she said was a purely civil matter.

On a second charge of violating the exchange control regulations, Justice Chatukuta said the new constitution adopted earlier this year – taking note of dollarisation – had decriminalised the crime presented.

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