The Financial Services Board (FSB) has expressed disappointment with the sentence handed down to former Fidentia boss, J Arthur Brown by the Western Cape High Court yesterday.
His sentence followed an extended case that lasted more than six years. Brown was fined R150 000 and given a 36 month suspended prison sentence.
But the FSB felt the punishment did not acknowledge the extent of the damage caused by Mr Brown’s actions. They added that Brown was convicted on two counts of fraud, which, inter alia, allowed him access to funds intended for the beneficiaries of Mantadia (Matco) which was renamed the Living Hands Umbrella Trust by Fidentia.
“By his own admission, the crime for which Mr Brown has been found guilty is “not a mickey mouse charge”. It is the FSB’s view that the sentence neither acts as a deterrent nor does it send the right message to other white collar criminals,” it said.
The Regulator had hoped that Mr Brown would be sentenced to a jail term that adequately reflected the seriousness of the crimes he admitted to committing (at least the prescribed minimum of 15 years).
“The type of sentence handed down does very little to inspire the public’s confidence in the country’s judiciary,” it said.
Multiple fraud charges
Brown initially faced 192 charges laid against him by the state. According to reports, he was convicted after he admitted to misrepresentations he made regarding investments entrusted to him.
Brown was out on R1 million bail after he was found guilty
last month of two counts of fraud that came to millions of rands.
He was convicted of fraud involving the misappropriation of funds between 2002 and 2006 from the Transport, Education and Training Authority (Teta) and the Mercantile Asset Trust Company, which is a trust account that managed miners’ pension funds.
Brown was acquitted on seven other charges of corruption, money-laundering, theft and fraud.
Despite the sentiments about Brown’s sentence, the FSB said they respected the decision of the court and will abide thereby. “The regulator can only hope that the state will appeal this sentence and ensure that justice is served,” they added.