Mpisane wants trial to proceed

2012-10-23 19:09

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Durban - The lawyers of businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane applied for her fraud trial to proceed in the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday.

"The purpose of this application is to avoid unnecessary delay in these proceedings, which will seriously prejudice the accused," said defence lawyer Jimmy Howse.

He was reading an affidavit by Phila Magwaza, one of Mpisane's attorneys.

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 when she had a previous fraud conviction.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Fresh charges

On 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 on Friday and was released on bail of R50 000.

On Monday, the State applied for the matter in the Pinetown Magistrate's court to be transferred to the Durban Regional Court so the matters could be heard together.

State advocate Meera Naidu said the cases involved the same witnesses and evidence.

Naidu told the court the State would introduce new charges, because Mpisane was investigated after her plea in June and new evidence of more transgressions had come to light.

Possible delay

The defence has objected to the two cases being joined as the matter was set down for trial on Monday.

"The prosecution is seeking to introduce new charges which have not yet been formulated, and to further investigate other charges which were very recently formulated, will have [the] inevitable result that this trial cannot be heard within this three-week session," Howse said.

The proposed new charges, by the State's own admission, amounted to separate and distinct offences, he said.
They could be dealt with in a separate trial set down in the future when investigations were complete and ready for trial.

The State had said on 27 February that it was done with its investigations, Howse said.

Magistrate Blessing Msane adjourned the matter until Friday to allow the State time to prepare a response to the application.

Earlier, there was a delay in the trial when Mpisane refused to enter court after being called by the State because she wanted to avoid news photographers. Her bodyguards also threatened photographers.

Family and friends attending the trial accused journalists of violating Mpisane's rights.

Read more on:    shauwn mpisane  |  durban

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