Mpisane firm had history with tax returns

2013-05-07 20:21
Shauwn and S'bu Mpisane (Picture: City Press)

Shauwn and S'bu Mpisane (Picture: City Press)

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Durban - The firm of Durban businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane had a history of under-declaring its tax obligations and would then hastily make a voluntary disclosure to the SA Revenue Service (Sars) when it was investigated, the Durban Regional Court was told on Tuesday.

Sars tax auditor Waheeda Osman said the company would "run to make a VDP application" when Sars investigations loomed.

Under cross-examination from Mpisane's lawyer Rafik Bhana, SC, she denied that Sars had been vindictive in its actions against Mpisane and her business.

Mpisane is accused of inflating invoices by more than R5m 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 when she had a previous fraud conviction.

She has pleaded not guilty.

Bhana said Mpisane was attempting to regularise her tax affairs and that Osman had been aware since April 2008 that Mpisane had a previous conviction.

He said Mpisane's conviction "was no secret", yet she was allowed to continue trading.

"This was a witch hunt against the Mpisanes," he said.

Osman denied there was a witch hunt and said the fact that Sars had attempted to collect revenue owing to it, did not mean that Sars condoned Mpisane's contravention of the Close Corporations Act.

Both Bhana and Mpisana's other lawyer Jimmy Howse earlier accused the prosecution on Tuesday of suppressing evidence which would be favourable to her case.

The two complained to Magistrate Blessing Msani that the state had deliberately failed to provide them with reports on Mpisane's tax affairs by three Sars employees.

While cross-examining Osman earlier, Bhana said he would argue "there is suppression of evidence".

Prosecutor Meera Naidu said she would try to obtain the reports, and denied refusing to provide the defence with the reports by Sumantha Ramharak, Riette Herbst, and Pemola Govender.

Osman testified she was instructed to reduce Mpisane's tax bill following an audit by Ramharak. This reduction was then reversed following further investigation by Sars.

The case continues.

Read more on:    sars  |  shauwn mpisane  |  durban

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