Prosecutor's conduct questioned

2013-06-27 21:17
Sibusiso and Shauwn Mpisane

Sibusiso and Shauwn Mpisane

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Dueban - The conduct of a prosecutor in the trial of businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane was questioned in the Durban Regional Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Blessing Msani asked State witness Waheeda Osman if she had read the transcripts of SA Revenue Service (SARS) group executive Mashudu Johannes Makwakwa's testimony before she testified in court.

Osman told the court that prosecutor Meera Naidu read a few pages from the transcripts to her during a meeting.

"She did not give me the transcripts, she only read a few pages. She indicated that she could read his statements because they were public records," said Osman, a SARS auditor.

Makwakwa testified in Mpisane's tax fraud trial last year.

Responding to Osman's statement, Naidu said she was entitled to interview witnesses before they gave evidence.

"It is my duty to prep witnesses," she said.

Msani, and Rafik Bhana, SC, for Mpisane, asked Naidu to deny or dispute Osman's statements, but she refused.

Witness damaging

"This is a basic matter of ethics... do you realise the assertion by the witness is damaging to you?

"If this matter doesn't end, it may get reopened in the future," Msani said.

Naidu said she had no further submission with regards to Osman's evidence.

Osman also told the court that no one else was present during her meeting with Naidu.

She said Naidu had not coached her on what to say, but merely explained to her how to conduct herself in court.

Mpisane is accused of inflating invoices by more than R5 million 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.

The trial continues on 8 July.

- SAPA
Read more on:    durban
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