Lazarus & Barnard trial: Donation to church under spotlight

Jan Venter says he was instructed by Hein Barnard to deposit funds into an Edenvale church’s account.

FILE: The unit’s former chief financial officer Solly Lazarus and subordinate Hein Barnard are accused of defrauding the account. Picture: Saps.

JOHANNESBURG - Cross-examination of a witness in the trial against police crime intelligence officials has focused on donations to a church in Edenvale allegedly paid from the unit's secret slush fund.

The unit's former chief financial officer Solly Lazarus and subordinate Hein Barnard are accused of defrauding that account.

The pair allegedly used the secret fund to purchase several vehicles for their personal use.

Car dealer Jan Venter says he was instructed by Barnard to deposit funds into an Edenvale church's account, as a donation for their annual Christmas tree.

But defence advocate Estelle Kilian put it to Venter that Lazarus had simply asked him for a donation for the church.

She questioned where, in such a request, was the instruction to take funds out of the secret slush fund.

Kilian has suggested that the withdrawal of the funds was entirely Venter's initiative, and not on the instruction of her clients.

Venter earlier testified that profit made off the sale of vehicles to crime intelligence was channelled into the fund, and later used by the accused to buy vehicles.