Durban’s bling queen ‘faked papers’

2013-02-10 10:00

Faked credentials, phoney accounts and outright lies – those were the methods used by the tender tycoon Shauwn Mpisane to access state contracts worth more than R140 million, court papers claim.

Affidavits by state investigators probing Mpisane, her former metro cop husband S’bu Mpisane and two of their companies – Zikhulise Cleaning and Transport and Zikhulise Auto Restorers – were used to get an asset forfeiture order from the KwaZulu-Natal High Court this week.

It lifts the lid on the alleged shady dealings of the construction tender tycoon.

Neighbours and witnesses were agog this week as law enforcement officials raided the couple’s multi-million rand La Lucia, Durban, mansion hauling away R22 million in luxury cars.

This included a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Maserati, a Ferrari Scaglietti, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and a Panamera Turbo.

In total some R50 million in cars, properties and bank accounts were seized as the state tracks down other assets belonging to the couple whose flamboyant lifestyle often dominates Durban headlines.

An affidavit by investigating officer Colonel Kubenthren Naidoo, used in the forfeiture application, spells out the state’s case against Shauwn Mpisane.

He describes how she allegedly constructed a mountain of fake documents to obtain a grading from the Construction Industry Development Board which, he claimed, allowed her company to pitch for KwaZulu-Natal Public Works contracts worth R144 million, including work on Claremont Hospital, schools and other key projects.

The fraud allegedly committed by the tycoon included signing legal declarations that she had never been convicted of fraud – which would have precluded her or her companies from accessing state tenders – when, in fact, she had been convicted of 62 counts of fraud in 2005.

Further, Naidoo charged, she had submitted forged tax clearance certificates and had ordered her accountant to produce phoney financial statements to inflate her company’s income.

This allowed her businesses to qualify for high-value contracts after obtaining a higher board grading.

The investigating officer told the court Mpisane had used an Engineering Council of South Africa certificate belonging to Thabo Zacariah Hlabela, among others, as part of her construction board filings to establish the credentials of her business.

“However, Hlabela was never employed by Zikhulise. He did not know Shauwn Mpisane or Zikhulise and had never devoted 100% of his time to Zikhulise. He also never consented to his ECSA certificate, albeit authentic, to be utilised by Shauwn Mpisane or Zikhulise,” he said.

Shauwn Mpisane, who appeared in court this week on charges of fraud, forgery and uttering, told the Durban Commercial Crimes Court through her lawyer that none of the documents allegedly filed to the construction board had been actually used to obtain a grading and that she challenged Naidoo’s evidence as hearsay.

Mpisane was granted R100?000 bail.

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