Mpisane stalling trial, State says

2012-10-26 19:34
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Durban - Businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane was delaying her fraud trial, the Durban Regional Court heard on Friday.

"Had the accused not interfered with State witnesses we would have been in a position to proceed with her trial," prosecutor Meera Naidu said.

Naidu was responding to an application brought by Mpisane's lawyer, Jimmy Howse, for her fraud trial to proceed as scheduled on Monday.

Mabongi Flora-Junior "Shauwn" Mpisane is accused of inflating invoices by more than R5m 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, despite having a fraud conviction.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Last Friday, she was arrested on fresh charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice for allegedly contacting one of the witnesses expected to testify in her fraud trial.

She appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court and was released on bail of R50 000.

The State has applied for the matter in the Pinetown court to be transferred to the Durban Regional Court so the cases could be heard together.

Howse has objected to the State's application, saying this would delay the trial and prejudice Mpisane.

Naidu said: "The Pinetown matter cannot be divorced from the trial because it's one and the same."

She said the State was ready to proceed, but that Mpisane had interfered with a State witnesses 11 days before her trial.

Naidu rejected the defence's argument that it was delaying the trial, saying that after the State was made aware of Mpisane's interfering with witnesses, she was arrested within three days.

"The State made attempts to try to complete investigations so the matter could be placed on the court roll," she said.

Naidu said new charges had been added to the 119 Mpisane was already facing. She now faced 131 charges.

She said if the court objected to joining the cases and amending the charge sheet, Mpisane would find herself attending three different trials, which was not in the interest of justice.

Witnesses could not be expected to attend three trials, she said.

Naidu said Mpisane's lawyers had failed to give details of how she would be prejudiced if a new trial date was set.

The matter was adjourned to Monday for Mpisane's lawyers to formulate a response to the State.

- SAPA
Read more on:    shauwn mpisane  |  durban
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