State seeks postponement in Shawn Mpisane case

2013-09-13 15:10

The state sought a six-week postponement in the case against Durban businessperson Shawn Mpisane, saying it hoped to pursue fraud, forgery and uttering charges in a high court.

Seeking the postponement in an application in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court, Prosecutor Wendy O’Brien said today KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sophy Moipone Dinah Noko had authorised that the case against Mpisane should proceed in the Durban High Court.

Mpisane faces 53 charges of fraud, forgery and uttering of a forged document.

O’Brien said the state was “99.5% certain” it would proceed with those charges in the high court.

Mpisane, who is out on R100 000 bail, is accused of submitting forged documents to obtain Construction Industry Development Board gradings, which were then used to win five public works department tenders worth R140 million.

But Mpisane’s lawyer, Jimmy Howse, argued that the figure of R140 million was incorrect as the value of three of the tenders amounted to R57.3 million.

These had been completed, he said, and the department of public works had not complained in relation to the work carried out by Mpisane and her company, Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport.

He said that in relation to the fourth project – a clinic that was being built in Inanda – the department had refused to terminate the contract and work was continuing.

The tender, or the fifth contract upon which some of the charges were based, had been withdrawn by the department and no work had been done and no payment had been made.

Howse accused the state of attempting to buy time to strengthen its case.

An order restraining R70 million of his clients’ assets was based upon a National Directorate of Public Prosecutions application that the matter would be heard in the regional court.

He said that a trial date should be set in the regional court, or the case should be struck from the roll.

The state should not be entitled to a six-week postponement, he submitted.

O’Brien said the time was needed to obtain a forensic report and the DPP needed to examine the case, which consisted of nine lever arch files of documentation.

Magistrate Nalini Govender was expected to make a decision later today.

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