/ 10 May 2008

Fidentia’s Brown arrested in Cape Town

Fidentia chief executive J Arthur Brown has been arrested on charges of theft, fraud and money laundering, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Friday.

”J Arthur Brown was arrested on the strength of a warrant following the investigation that was carried out on a separate leg of the bigger Fidentia investigation,” said NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.

He was arrested in Cape Town’s central business district on Friday afternoon and appeared in the district court.

The case was postponed to Monday and Brown would remain in police custody until he appeared in court.

”We should be able to disclose before court [on Monday] the reasons and circumstances that led to the arrest,” Tlali said.

He said Brown’s wife, Susan, and their children had left the country. However, he would not elaborate on any investigations into her connection to the Fidentia case, or whether she had fled the country for fear of arrest.

”I am really not focusing on the wife. I am focusing on the person who has been arrested,” said Tlali.

Brown was only expected back in court on May 30 in connection with other charges that include fraud involving the Transport, Education and Training Authority (Teta).

The fraud charge relating to Teta involves more than R2-million.

He is also facing fraud and theft charges in the regional court, where it is alleged he used R5,5-million in Infinity loyalty programme funds to pay salaries and other expenses of Fidentia companies.

It is also alleged that a company named Fundi Projects was swindled out of R3-million.

His former co-accused in this case, Fidentia financial director Graham Maddock, was sentenced to an effective seven years’ jail after a plea agreement in February.

A sequestration order on Brown and his wife’s joint estate — which they have petitioned to appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeals — was also expected to be returned in the Cape Town High Court on May 26.

Brown was arrested in March last year and was out on bail of R1-million. — Sapa