Mpisane court bid postponed

2013-09-13 22:39

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Durban - Durban businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane will have to wait until next Thursday to find out if her bid to prevent the State from taking her case to the high court has been successful.

Durban Commercial Crime Court Magistrate Nalini Govender said on Friday she would hand down her decision next Thursday.

The State had sought a six-week postponement in the case against Mpisane on Friday, saying it hoped to pursue fraud, forgery and uttering charges in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban.

Seeking the postponement in an application in the Durban Commercial Crime Court, prosecutor Wendy O'Brien said 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, out on R100 000 bail, is accused of submitting forged documents to obtain Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) gradings, which were then used to win five public works department tenders worth R140m.

However, Mpisane's lawyer, Jimmy Howse, argued that the figure of R140m was incorrect as the value of three of the tenders amounted to R57.3m.

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

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The fifth contract, upon which some of the charges were based, had been withdrawn by the department and no work had been done and no payment had been made.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

Assests

An order restraining R70m of his client's assets was based upon a National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) 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.

She dismissed Howse's assertion that Mpisane's alleged transgressions were "technical" in their nature. She said that irrespective of the amounts involved, Mpisane's alleged offences "are misrepresentations and they resulted in the awarding of tenders".

She said Mpisane had effectively "cheated" in obtaining the CIDB gradings to the detriment of other bidders for the tenders.

- SAPA
Read more on:    shauwn mpisane  |  durban  |  corruption
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