via Bredenkamp acquitted – DailyNews Live by Tendai Kamhungira 13 SEPTEMBER 2013
Controversial businessman John Arnold Bredenkamp has been found not guilty of swindling a friend of $4,2 million.
High Court Judge Felistas Chatukuta acquitted the tycoon, ruling the State had failed to proffer evidence that would sustain a fraud charge.
“It is my conclusion that the accused does not have a case to answer. State’s evidence bears no resemblance to the charge,” Chatukuta said, clearing the businessman of any wrong doing on the other charge of externalisation.
Chatukuta said the State had failed to give the proper relationship of Bredenkamp and a company called KMC Limited, a firm the businessman alleges borrowed the money from the complainant Yakub Ibrahim Mohammed.
She said despite it being mentioned that he had interests in the company; no evidence was led to prove he owned the firm.
Chatukuta said that the matter was civil in nature and it appeared the Attorney General’s office had succumbed to Mohammed’s pressure when it pursued criminal charges.
She further said that this was a business loan, which needed to be pursued through non-criminal means.
For long, considered one of Britain and Europe’s richest men, the 73-year-old Zimbabwean businessman and ex-rugby player was acquitted after his lawyer Eric Matinenga applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case.
Matinenga said that the State had failed to prove a case against Bredenkamp.
“Consequently, I am constrained to apply for discharge at the close of the State’s case. There is no evidence to prove an essential element. A criminal court cannot be used to recover debt,” Matinenga said.
Bredenkamp had denied the allegations claiming the charges were malicious and civil in nature.
However, Mohammed said the businessman had defrauded him, after asking for the money on the basis that he wanted to fund his mining operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Mohammed said he later discovered that Bredenkamp had used the money personally and in funding the ministry of Defence’s feeding programme during its operations in the DRC war.
Allegations against Bredenkamp arose when Mohammed advanced the foreign cash component from proceeds of his Sahawi International (Private) Limited cigarette trading business in South Africa, Bredenkamp — famous for his helicopter shuttles in Harare — had promised to pay back the money after disposing off his Kababankola Mining Company in the DRC.
According to the agreement between the two businessmen, the advance was to attract six percent interest per year, capitalised on a monthly basis.
Mohammed claimed in court that he has not yet been paid the full amount after only getting $400 000 in 2001.