NPA: Mpisane probe wasn't done in time

2014-01-15 14:36
Shauwn and S'bu Mpisane (Picture: City Press)

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

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Durban - The State dropped fraud and corruption charges against businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on Wednesday, the NPA said.

"The reason for the withdrawal is incomplete forensic investigations that couldn't be finalised by the deadline of this afternoon [Wednesday]," KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said in a statement.

She said the deadline was given to the State by the magistrate.

Mpisane, who had been out on R100 000 bail, faced 53 charges of fraud, forgery, and uttering of a forged document.

Separate application needed to recover R70.5m assets

She was accused of submitting forged documents to obtain Construction Industry Development Board gradings which were then used to win five public works department tenders worth R140m.

Although the charges had been withdrawn, she would have to make a separate application to the high court to lift the restraint order against R70.5m of her assets.

The State initially obtained a restraint order against assets worth R140m, but this was subsequently reduced once it emerged that no payment had been received for one of the contracts.

"Until such time as the restraint order is rescinded, they [Mpisane's assets] remain under curatorship. Somebody will have to apply to the courts. I can only take instruction from the court," said Trevor White of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the curator of Mpisane's assets.

He said the assets under curatorship included cars, properties, and cash.

In September, prosecutor Wendy O'Brien had sought a six week postponement without setting a trial date to obtain the forensic report, and allow the deputy director of prosecutions time to examine the case documents in nine lever arch files.

Still facing charges in other cases

However, Magistrate Nalini Govender refused that application and ordered that a trial be set down for 21 January.

Mpisane still faces charges in two other cases. In the Durban Regional Court she is accused of inflating invoices of her business - Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance, and Transport CC - by almost R5m to cut her tax bill.

In the Pinetown Magistrate's Court she stands accused of interfering with a State witness related to the tax fraud case.

The lead prosecutor in those two cases has been removed and the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions will inform the courts on 31 January whether the cases will proceed following representations by Mpisane's lawyers about the prosecution's conduct.

Mpisane's legal team has accused the prosecution of suppressing evidence.
- SAPA
Read more on:    shauwn mpisane
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