News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
15 Feb 2017
6:11 am

Abashiri’s former owner in court for alleged R5m fraud

Ilse de Lange

The court granted an order freezing the bank accounts of Adriaan van Vuuren, his wife, various business entities and family trusts.

CONFIDENT. Rika and Adriaan van Vuuren pose with Abashiri at the Northrand Training Centre in Midrand, ahead of Champions Day at Turffontein Racecourse today. Abashiri is looking to win the third leg of the Triple Crown after winning the first two. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Telkom’s subsidiary firm Trudon has obtained a court order freezing the bank accounts and assets of its former IT manager, who lived like a millionaire after allegedly defrauding it of more than R500 million.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted an order freezing the bank accounts of Adriaan van Vuuren, his wife, various business entities and family trusts.

Van Vuuren is an ex-owner of Abashiri, the horse that last year won the Triple Crown (SA Derby, Gauteng Guineas and SA Classic). He quit horse racing last year.

The Van Vuurens were interdicted from dealing with their assets, including 17 properties, numerous racehorses, luxury vehicles and businesses pending Trudon’s application to have them sequestrated.

According to Trudon’s procurement manager Barend van der Walt in court papers, the firm had established that Van Vuuren had over a number of years committed fraud, resulting in enormous losses and criminal charges being laid against him and his wife.

Van Vuuren was suspended in October because of allegations of misconduct arising from the company’s Mobile Add Exchange Network Pilot Project conducted during the Independent Electoral Commission’s municipal elections. He resigned shortly thereafter.

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Van der Walt said probes by internal auditors and two forensic investigators revealed Van Vuuren had, over the years, used two corporations, Bites Bee Holdings and The Corporate Choice, to “acquire” and “sell” to Trudon IT software which did not exist. The corporations were dummy or front entities, allegedly controlled by Van Vuuren.

The amounts invoiced to Trudon between 2007 and 2016 amounted to R390 million, while neither of the corporations had submitted a single invoice since Van Vuuren resigned.

Trudon established that apart from cash, Van Vuuren and his wife had accumulated extensive assets, including numerous properties, vehicles and thoroughbred horses, for which they had paid cash since 2009.

The couple also owned a number of business enterprises, including pizza, burger and fish fast food restaurants and a wedding venue, which incorporated stabling for horses.

Van Wyk said it was impossible for Van Vuuren to have accumulated such vast assets on his monthly earnings of R107 000.

He said Van Vuuren had recently established a number of trusts, which the company feared was indicative of his intentions to sell his assets and flee SA.

Van Vuuren did not respond to The Citizen’s questions.

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