Fidentia accountant refused early release

The Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Friday rejected an application for the early release from prison of former Fidentia accountant Graham Maddock.

Two years ago, Maddock, then 53, was jailed for seven years, after agreeing that the sentence was fair and just in plea-bargain proceedings before magistrate Amrith Chabillal.

On Wednesday this week, however, defence counsel Peter Mihalik, launched an application for the remaining five years to be
converted into correctional supervision.

This would have resulted in Maddock’s release from prison into house arrest and community service.

The application was supported by former Scorpions senior counsel Jannie Engelbrecht and prison authorities, so a confident Maddock had expected his release from prison when judgement was delivered on Friday.

Chabillal said the role of the court at the time of sentencing two years ago had been to either accept or reject the proposed sentence of seven years jail as fair and just.

The court accepted it as fair, on the basis that Maddock had shown remorse for his part in the Fidentia embezzlement, that he had cooperated in the investigation, was a first-time offender and had agreed to repay R6,3-million to the Fidentia liquidators.

Chabillal said the seven year sentence might have been lenient, but this was because Maddock had agreed to assist in the prosecution of others involved in the Fidentia matter — a spin-off benefiting the authorities.

Prison authorities had described Maddock as a model prisoner, but as an accountant this had been expected of him.

The court had also to consider the aggravating factors in Maddock’s case, namely the inordinately huge amount of money involved (R200-million), and the fact that the embezzlement had taken place over a protracted period.

Chabillal said the court had a duty to ensure that the administration of justice was not brought into disrepute, as would happen if the sentence was startlingly inappropriate. – Sapa

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