/ 10 December 2008

Brown keen to wed, wants charges dropped

Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown, who is facing multiple fraud charges, has found God and a new girlfriend.

He made the revelations in an affidavit filed in the Cape High Court on Wednesday as part of an application for the charges against him to be quashed.

The 38-year-old said his marriage to wife Susan, who slipped out of the country to Australia last year with the couple’s two small children, had completely broken down and they had agreed on a divorce.

”Hence I recently found a new partner who I wish to marry as soon as our divorce is finalised,” he said.

However the ”indefinite” investigation being conducted by the Scorpions and their refusal to consolidate the cases against him made marriage untenable.

”It would be selfish and unfair towards her to do so at this stage,” he said.

”Furthermore, the time I spent in Pollsmoor [prison] has moved me closer to God and I do not wish to violate His laws by entering into a relationship outside marriage.”

Brown said he had been accused on websites of numerous affairs with female employees and other women.

These allegations had placed ”tremendous strain” on his marriage and had led to him and Susan living separate lives, even though they had still stayed in the same Cape Town home for financial reasons.

In the application, which was also served on the Scorpions on Wednesday, Brown asked the court to order ”an immediate and permanent stay” of prosecution on all the Fidentia charges.

He also wants the court to instruct the Scorpions to halt their investigation against him.

Alternatively, he wants a deadline set for completion of the investigation, and consolidation of all the cases on a single charge sheet.

According to his attorney, Rashaad Khan, the application will be heard on January 13 next year.

Scorpions prosecutor Bruce Morrison said the state would ”vehemently” oppose it.

Brown said in his affidavit that following ”false information” fed to the media that he had stolen billions from widows and orphans, he had already been convicted by public opinion.

”Many in the legal fraternity also believe this,” he said.

”My rights to a fair trial have been violated and I am doubtful whether it is still possible to have a fair trial.”

He said if the court did not grant the order, he would have a criminal investigation hanging over his head for an indefinite number of years, and would never be able to make decisions on his personal life, career or employment.

Brown also revealed in the application that the R1-million bail set after his first arrest was paid by his stepfather, a semi-retired Stellenbosch University professor who ”borrowed” the money from his pension.

Brown appeared briefly in both the Cape Town regional and magistrate’s courts on Wednesday in connection with two of the cases against him.

Both matters were provisionally postponed to March 2 next year, to allow time for the high court hearing.

Former Transport Education and Training Authority chief executive Piet Bothma appeared alongside Brown in one of the cases.

Both men are on bail.

Seven former Fidentia employees staged a noisy demonstration outside the court, waving placards that said ”Brown we love you” and ”Brown cares about us”. — Sapa