‘Not a fair trial’, alleges Shauwn

2013-07-09 00:00

DURBAN businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane, who is facing multiple criminal charges of defrauding the SA Revenue Service, is seeking to have the charges withdrawn, ­claiming prosecutorial misconduct, the Durban Regional Court heard yesterday.

Mpisane is accused of inflating ­invoices by more than R5 million in an attempt to cut her tax bill.

She is also accused of violating the Close Corporations Act by remaining the sole member of Zikhulise ­Cleaning, Maintenance and ­Transport CC while having a previous fraud conviction.

Defence advocate Rafik Bhana SC said he will be making an application to the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), claiming the state has been withholding statements. He claims they have only received 64 statements out of a minimum of 149 in the state’s possession.

He said the prosecution gave them what they thought was relevant.

“I don’t believe we are having a free and fair trial. The NDPP is to review on how the prosecution has ­conducted itself,” said Bhana.

Bhana’s basis for the application to the NDPP will be further strengthened after prosecutor Meera Naidu was reprimanded by magistrate Blessing Msani in June when the state’s witness Waheeda Osman, a senior audit ­official at the SARS Durban office, ­admitted to having been read the court transcripts of another ­witness by Naidu, thereby possibly tainting Osman’s ­entire testimony, which is key to the state’s case.

While the state was expected to present a new witness yesterday, the defence asked for a postponement until June 22 for completion of the NDPP process.

SARS, having an obvious interest in the case, has since seconded the experience of Johannesburg advocate Mike Hellens SC, who was present in court to monitor proceedings to protect SARS’ interests and possibly give support to the NPA.

Hellens has recently been linked to the internal NPA dispute involving senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach. The NPA had accused Breytenbach of failing to act impartially when investigating the Kumba Iron Ore/­Sishen and ICT mining rights issue. Hellens represented Sishen.

In 2011, Hellens represented Pietermaritzburg advocate Cameron Hunt SC, who had punched his ­colleague, Mergnathan Chetty SC,­unconscious at a farewell party for Judge Rob Griffiths at a Pietermaritzburg bar in 2010.

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