Brown faces 20 years

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

J Arthur Brown, the kingpin behind the R1,4billion Fidentia fraud, faces as much as 20 years in prison, legal experts said yesterday. Steve Goodwin, a former director in Fidentia, was convicted yesterday on 36 counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering and sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison.

Goodwin filed a plea bargain with prosecutors after his arrest in the US last year and his extradition to South Africa.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Goodwin will serve a minimum of 10 years.

Tlali Tlali, NPA spokesperson, said that Goodwin laundered R90million of investor funds.

Graham Maddock, Fidentia's accountant, also made a plea bargain and in February last year was sentenced to seven years for his part in the theft and laundering of nearly R1,4billion.

Fidentia was managing these funds on behalf of various beneficiaries including 46000 widows and orphans.

In October last year Brown, Fidentia's disgraced chief executive, was released on bail after more than a year in police custody.

In May 2008 Brown was reported to have been raped in the back of a police van on his way from the Cape Magistrate's Court to Pollsmoor prison.

Shortly afterwards he made his bail application with the help of a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with stress and depression.

Last month, while out on bail, Brown appeared briefly in the Cape Regional Court in an attempt to have embezzlement and theft charges against him dropped.

Dines Gihwala, the court- appointed curator of Fidentia said that it was inevitable for Brown to be prosecuted.

He said: "He (Brown) lives like a lord here in Cape Town. He drives around in a R2million car, lives in a multi-million rand house and has a new girlfriend.

"He will definitely be prosecuted, and the beneficiaries will be paid out. It won't be nearly as much as they were entitled to, but they'll get something. It's just unfortunate that they have to hear about this man's extravagant lifestyle and think we're not doing our jobs," said Gihwala.