Convicted fraudster in court again

Kathryn Kimberley

A GAUTENG businessman and convicted fraudster appeared in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court yesterday on charges of fraud and money laundering totalling more than R700000.

Barend Barkhuizen, who already has a lengthy rap sheet, is accused of using a Port Elizabeth man’s bank account to launder the proceeds of fraud committed in Namibia.

Barkhuizen, an IT manager at Africa Analysis in Pretoria, was denied bail in November last year. On January 16 the Port Elizabeth High Court confirmed the magistrate’s decision not to grant him bail after he took the matter on appeal.

Barkhuizen, according to documents before the high court, has previous convictions for forgery, uttering and fraud relating to incidents in Pretoria in 2011, and three outstanding cases, including one for fraud allegedly committed in 2010, one for theft in 2012 and one for culpable homicide in 2007.

He made a brief appearance yesterday, when his matter was postponed for further investigation.

According to the charge sheet, in March 2007 Barkhuizen obtained a R500000 loan from Port Elizabeth businessman Brian Schmidt. He undertook to repay the loan in full by July 31 that year.

His estate was later sequestrated and he failed to pay back the loan, but promised to do so as soon as possible. Then, in January 2011, Barkhuizen allegedly informed Schmidt he had brokered and concluded a business transaction involving the sale of diesel. He said the buyer was in Namibia while the seller, an agent for Shell, was based in South Africa.

He reportedly asked Schmidt to act as paymaster in the transaction. According to the state, Schmidt accepted the appointment as paymaster in his capacity as representative of Alpha Crest CC. Barkhuizen reportedly offered Schmidt an administration service fee plus R20000 as first back payment in respect of the 2007 loan.

On January 7 2011, almost R400000 was allegedly deposited into Schmidt’s personal account, and a further R325000 into the account of Alpha Crest.

The state claimed both amounts originated from accounts held by Standard Bank Namibia. Schmidt kept back R30000 due to him, and allegedly deposited the rest as ordered by Barkhuizen.

“It subsequently transpired that the money was proceeds of fraud committed in the Windhoek branch of Standard Bank,” court papers state.

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