‘Absolute nonsense’

2013-02-08 00:00

EVEN though high-flyer Shauwn Mpisane and her company are accused of fraud involving R140 million, she is still doing work for a government department that she is accused of defrauding.

This emerged yesterday at Mpisane’s bail application in Durban’s Commercial Crimes Court.

In an affidavit, Mpisane said her company, Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport CC, of which she is the sole member, was “ at this very moment” still building the Inanda Clinic.

“In other words, despite the allegation by the state that this tender and/or contract was obtained by fraud, the Department of Public Works is presently continuing to honour the contract.”

The total value of the contract is R21 425 250 of which work to the value of R2 015 772 has been performed so far.

There was no suggestion that the work was unsatisfactorily performed and she could not understand how the state could charge her with fraudulently obtaining or inducing a tender and/or contract, Mpisane said.

This was because “the so-called complainant [Public Works] was obviously happy with the performance under the contract to the extent both parties are presently honouring the contract”.

“This anomaly surely demonstrates that the charges are more illusory than they are real,” said Mpisane.

Her advocate, Jimmy Howse, suggested to the investigating officer, Colonel Kubendhren Naidoo, of the Anti-corruption Task Team, that this showed that the “charges are absolute nonsense from A to Z”.

Mpisane said she would plead not guilty to all 53 charges of fraud, forgery and uttering involving R140 122 734.

The charges concern an allegedly questionable grading certificate obtained by Zikhulise from the Construction Industry Development Board enabling it to tender for projects in the industry.

Five tenders were awarded to Zikhulise.

According to Mpisane’s affidavit, three tenders in relation to which she has been charged, were successfully completed “to the satisfaction of the Department of Public Works”.

She therefore failed to understand what prejudice was suffered by the department.

Based on this, Mpisane also believes that the Asset Forfeiture Unit won’t succeed in obtaining an order for confiscation of amounts paid to Zikhulise in instances where buildings were erected and “full value was received” in exchange for the payment.

Mpisane left the court a free woman after yesterday’s hearing — at least for one more night.

When the court ran out of time to complete the formalities yesterday, magistrate Gerrie Maree took the unusual step of releasing Mpisane on warning, pending her return to the dock today.

Maree said he was aware it was unusual to release her on warning before a decision had been taken, but said the state did not consider Mpisane a flight risk and she had presented herself to court yesterday.

The state had no objection.

The state is, however, still strenuously opposing Mpisane’s application for bail pending her trial on the latest charges.

She has two fraud cases pending and admitted in her affidavit that she also has a previous conviction for defrauding the SA Revenue Service dating back eight years.

The state’s objection to bail is based on her alleged propensity to commit fraud and the prospect that she will interfere with witnesses or the investigation.

In particular the state is concerned that a witness, who Mpisane is alleged to have interfered with in a Pinetown case, where she also faces fraud charges, is also a witness in the present matter.

After the case Mpisane and her husband, Sbu, were whisked away in a black Range Rover with Umhlanga registration plates.

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