State delaying Mpisane trial, lawyer claims

2012-10-29 21:47

Durban - The State was unreasonably delaying the trial of businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane, the Durban Regional Court heard on Monday.

Defence lawyer Jimmy Howse told the court amending Mpisane's charge sheet was unreasonable and would delay the present trial.

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.

On 19 October, 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.

On 22 October, the State applied for the matter in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court to be transferred to the Durban Regional Court so they could be heard together.

Prosecutor Meera Naidu said the cases involved the same witnesses and evidence.

Mpisane initially had 119 charges against her, but after the charge sheet was amended she faced 131.

Howse said the State told the court in February that it was ready to go to trial as investigations had been completed.

He said Naidu had developed an "unacceptable propensity" to revise the charge sheet, which was causing delays. The charge sheet had been amended four times.

Howse asked the court to proceed with Mpisane's trial. He said if the Pinetown matter was transferred to the Durban Regional Court it would require an adjournment, as investigations in that case were not complete and would further delay the trial.

"No good reason has been advanced why the entire case should be adjourned while the corruption and defeating the ends of justice charges are further investigated," said Howse.

"It is submitted that these charges can and should be dealt with separately."

Magistrate Blessing Msane adjourned the matter until Wednesday to make a ruling.

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