Cele’s name invoked in Mpisane case

2011-09-30 00:00

A MOVE by Shawn Mpisane’s defence to bring her corruption case to a swift end by using the influence of Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele yesterday proved fruitless.

Cele is a childhood friend of Shawn’s husband Sibusiso, who is a former Durban Metro police officer. Cele has been among the A-list guests at lavish parties thrown at the showy couple’s Umhlanga mansion.

Mpisane appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s Court with a small entourage of fashionable women, while her employees filled the courtroom and demonstrated outside.

A ruling by magistrate Fikile Luvono for the state to allow the defence access to search-and-seizure documents was met with applause and high-fives by Mpisane supporters, but defence attorney Jimmy Howse’s subsequent attempt, in the prosecutor's words — to “undermine the court” — hit a brick wall.

Prosecutor Meera Naidu objected to a document, sanctioned by General Cele and lower-ranking police officers, which stated the matter could be wrapped up in 10 days.

“The state cannot pre-empt the investigation and circumstances may arise that would require further adjournment,” she said, adding that Howse was attempting to use Cele’s influence to undermine the magistrate’s power.

Howse responded saying that Naidu was wearing “blinkers” and that Cele was only one of the individuals who sanctioned the document.

Magistrate Luvono did grant flexibility in Mpisane’s bail conditions to travel abroad on business.

Mpisane is accused of unlawfully and falsely misrepresenting submissions on her VAT returns with intent to defraud. The amount involved is allegedly about R2,5 million

The court was told that she has a previous tax-related conviction.

The matter has been adjourned until November 3.

The couple are known for their fleet of expensive cars — including a Rolls Royce Phantom and Lamborghinis — and the lavish parties that celebrities and politicians flocked to.

In March last year the SA Revenue Service (SARS) seized three vehicles worth nearly R17 million belonging to the couple to cover unpaid taxes. The couple voluntarily handed over some of their moveable assets last year as surety and pledged to pay SARS over a few months.

rowan.sewchurran@witness.co.za

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