Shauwn to fight for her assets even though her legal battle goes on

2014-02-08 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL socialite and businessperson, Shauwn Mpisane believes the State is not playing fair by trying to hold onto her R70,4 million worth of assets despite having withdrawn all criminal charges against her.

Mpisane and her husband, Sbu, are gearing up for a legal battle in the Pietermaritzburg high court on February 20 to force the Asset Forfeiture Unit to relinquish the assets which it has had under its control for the past year.

In an affidavit filed in court this week in support of her application for the return of her assets, Mpisane alleged the State is abusing its power by now claiming the charges she and her company faced were withdrawn on “technical” grounds and that the prosecution intends reinstating them.

She accuses the State of having used delaying tactics leading up to the recent withdrawal of the charges against her and her company.

She said her lawyer, Shaukat Karim, had “pertinently” asked state advocate Wendy O’Brien when the charges were withdrawn in the special commercial crimes court in Durban on January 15, whether the withdrawal was provisional or final and O’Brien had refused to give him that information.

Mpisane said the AFU indicated for the first time that the State’s reasons for withdrawing the charges were “technical” and that they mean to reinstitute the charges, on January 21. This was six days after all charges were withdrawn.

She said O’Brien still hasn’t indicated what the technical grounds are, or when the supposed defect came into existence.

She says she is convinced the pros­ecution abused its by power by withdrawing the charges simply in order to evade trial because it wasn’t ready to proceed on the date ordered by the court once the magistrate eventually placed the State on terms.

“The reality is that this matter has been under investigation by special investigators for a number of years … It was not prematurely rushed to court as Advocate O’Brien contended,” said Mpisane. She said the State had been given many opportunities to “get its house in order but failed to do so”.

She maintains that the charges against her are not sustainable and that the State would not get a conviction.

“The State’s continued refusal to answer any questions pertinently or explain the nature of the defects which led to the withdrawal of the charges shows that it will not be a quick fix to remedy the defects,” she said.

The AFU has not yet filed opposing papers in the matter.

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