Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown was sentenced on Monday to in effect 15 years in jail after the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside his previous sentence for fraud.
Brown received 15 years’ imprisonment on each of two fraud charges. The sentences would run concurrently.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had appealed the R150 000 fine and suspended jail term handed down by the Western Cape High Court last May.
Brown was convicted of two fraud charges relating to his handling of investments for the Transport Education and Training Authority and the Mantadia Asset Trust Company between 2002 and 2006.
He had originally faced 192 charges.
The appeal was heard last month.
“It wasn’t just about the amount involved. It was about the impact that the commission of the crime had,” NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube said.
He said Brown would have to report to the nearest prison as soon as possible to begin his sentence.
His legal team had not yet made contact with the NPA.
In a statement released on Monday, the Financial Services Board (FSB), said it was delighted with the SCA’s decision.
FSB CEO Dube Tshidi called Brown’s previous sentence “a complete miscarriage of justice”.
“The previous sentence simply did not acknowledge the severity of Brown’s crime and the significant impact his actions had on thousands of poor South Africans. We are extremely pleased that the court has recognised this and instead decided to impose a custodial sentence of 15 years for each of the two counts for which he was charged. This is a great day for South Africa’s justice system and for our citizens. It shows that no matter who you are, if you break the law, you will be prosecuted – and sentenced appropriately.
“This judgement attests to the quality of the investigations conducted by the FSB. On the strength of what was uncovered by our team, Brown not only admitted to the crimes he committed but also acknowledged that these were ‘not mickey mouse charges’. The initial decision to fine him was truly ill-conceived. We are very pleased that our justice system has now acknowledged the seriousness of this case and acted to sentence Brown appropriately.”
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape also welcomed J Arthur Brown’s sentence “for stealing the pension funds of the widows” in a statement released on Monday afternoon.
It said this should serve as an indication to fund managers that they would be jailed for corruption and hopefull serve as a deterrent “to the growing levels of white collar crime”.
“This 15 year jail sentence is still too low for the hardships that he caused and we must investigate who else was involved in the criminal acts, so that they can also be brought to book.
“We commend Government action in appealing the case and call on all forms of corruption to see the perpetrators imprisoned.”