A prominent member of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Northern Cape John Block has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
Block, a former Northern Cape Finance MEC, was sentenced in the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley, along with Trifecta Holdings boss Christo Scholtz on Tuesday for his role in a multi-million rand corruption scandal.
The duo allegedly played deceptive roles in leasing Trifecta office space in Kimberly, Upington and Springbok to the Northern Cape social development department at inflated prices. They were found guilty of corruption and money laundering in October 2015.
Reading out the verdict, the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Phaladi Shuping said Block will pay the state R2 million and will also serve 15 years in jail for fraud and money laundering.
Scholtz, on the other hand, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of two counts of corruption.
“Mr. John Block was sentenced to 15 years for corruption, and he also got 12 years for money laundering. The sentences to run concurrently.
“From the day that they were convicted, all we were asking for as the NPA was the minimum sentence as prescribed in the law – which is 15 years for corruption – and we are satisfied because we got exactly what we were looking for,” Shuping said.
Shuping also fined the Trifecta Group a whopping R1.27m. An application for a confiscation order of assets of Trifecta‚ Block and Scholtz was granted with ease.
The NPA Northern Cape spokesman confirmed shortly after the suspects’ appearance that the duo appealed the sentencing and the appeal would be heard on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, John Block has resigned as ANC Northern Cape chairman and finance MEC. He dropped his resignation letter shortly after he heard his guilty verdict.
The ANC in the Northern Cape expressed shock and dismay with the sentencing. The party’s secretary in the province, Zamani Saul, said they are hopeful another court will come to a different conclusion.
The DA welcomed the sentence, saying it sends out a strong message to government officials that no one is above the law and that every corrupt act must be punished.