At home with the Mpisanes

2014-02-02 14:00

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Bling couple speaks out about their battle with SA’s justice system.

There’s no party at S’bu and Shauwn Mpisane’s Durban North mansion after the latter’s Friday acquittal on more than 100 tax fraud charges.

Shauwn had fought a three-year battle with the taxman and the National Prosecuting Authority.

The city’s blingest couple is “delighted” that National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana withdrew the case.

But they want to know why prosecutor Meera Naidu and provincial prosecutions boss Moipone Noko allegedly suppressed evidence clearing Shauwn of the R4.7?million VAT fraud she had been charged with.

“We’re not in any mood to celebrate,” said S’bu at their palatial home yesterday morning.

Seated on “his and hers” thrones in the entertainment area near their pool, the couple did not hold back.

“We’re angry. There will be no party here until New Year. There are people sitting out there who are behind this prosecution. We want [Nxasana] to investigate Naidu’s and Noko’s conduct and tell us why this happened,” S’bu said.

Friday’s acquittal, and the withdrawal of a secondary charge of interfering with a witness, followed the withdrawal of a third case?–?in which Shauwn was charged for falsifying credentials to secure public works tenders?–?two weeks ago.

Shauwn said: “What gets me is that there was no reason for this to have happened. Did we really have to go through all this?

The evidence was there clearing my name and the prosecution chose to ignore it. Why?

“The NDPP withdrew the case based on the same representations we sent to Noko long before. What had changed in law?

Why did this Sars matter continue when Sars knew we were tax compliant?

“I’d be standing there in court seeing all these big men, all these resources spent on pursuing a young woman, black for that matter, a skinny little thing like me and I’d think about what would have happened if I didn’t have the money and resources to fight.

“My companies would be closed, my people would have lost their jobs and I’d be down there with nothing.

“That is wrong. What about people who find themselves in this kind of situation and don’t have the support that I did?”

A bubbly Shauwn?–?in designer heels, a cap and sunglasses despite a scheduled doctor’s appointment?– skipped a breakfast of sliced fruit and mineral water and juice served by an Asian maid. She laughingly declined requests for a photoshoot in her famous shoe cupboard.

S’bu was critical of the state’s heavy hand in dealing with his wife.

“We were criticised for celebrating and popping champagne outside the court when they withdrew the other case, but that was a message to the same people who were celebrating when they came to arrest Shauwn.

“They came with the TRT [Tactical Response Team] from Pretoria, the task force for one woman. There was no need for that,” he said.

The couple says that despite spending R10?million on legal bills, they don’t intend suing the state.

But they are still pursuing an application to have more than R70?million in assets, including R28?million in cash, returned by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

“We don’t have any intention of suing the state. The last three years have been hard. They have cost us a lot of money. It has hurt us financially and in terms of our reputation. Business has suffered. People with whom we would have done business have been reluctant because of the trial. We’ve dealt with it and we’re now free,” said S’bu.

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