Shauwn Mpisane eyes new hurdle

2014-01-19 14:00

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Second set of tax fraud charges loom.

Durban’s queen of bling Shauwn Mpisane will go to court tomorrow to force a court-appointed curator to return R70 million after charges of fraud and forgery were withdrawn against her this week.

Mpisane, who could be a free woman by the end of the month if her bid to have a second set of charges for tax fraud is set aside, will make the bid after a proposal on Friday to curator Trevor White to consent to the release seems to have hit a wall.

On Wednesday senior public prosecutor Wendy O’Brien withdrew the charges after the state failed to meet a court appointed deadline for the submission of a forensic report to back up the charges.

While the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has stated that it will investigate the decision, sources in the prosecuting authority indicate that a reopening of the case is unlikely.

Mpisane’s lawyer Shauket Karim said he had flown senior counsel to Durban to make an application for the return of R28?million in cash and R42?million in cars and properties.

They were seized after her arrest for allegedly using false qualifications to get accreditation for five provincial government tenders last year.

“They were meeting at 1pm on Friday to make a final decision as to whether they would consent to an amendment to the order to ensure release of the assets.

“We haven’t heard from them since 3pm Friday. I have flown senior counsel down to Durban and we will proceed with an application, on an urgent or semi-urgent basis, to have the assets released on Monday morning,” he said.

While some believe Mpisane’s supporters and employees popped bottles of champagne prematurely outside the Durban Commercial Crime Court when she walked free on Wednesday, her representation to national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana to have the tax fraud case set aside sets out a powerful argument that the prosecution was fatally tainted by suppression of evidence which proved her innocence.

The 54-page confidential representation, which City Press has seen, asks Nxasana to intervene directly in the matter because of bias on the part of his provincial director, Moipone Noko.

It accuses Noko of bias and failing to deal with their earlier claims of misconduct by prosecutor Meera Naidu.

Naidu was removed from the case after the representation was made and replaced with a Pretoria-based advocate who has until month end to be ready to go back to trial.

“We request that this matter be given serious and immediate attention. Our client has requested that this matter not be sent for the personal attention of ... Advocate Moipone Noko because she was a colleague of Advocate Meera Naidu ... prior to taking up the post,” it says in the representation.

“On one occasion during the first session of trial she assisted advocate Naidu in court.

“Our previous approaches to her have been summarily rejected.”

It states that despite having been aware of reports by SA Revenue Service officials which showed that Mpisane and her Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport company had never claimed refunds on the basis of forged invoices, Naidu had suppressed this evidence and coached witnesses in such a way that the existence of this evidence was hidden.

Mpisane’s rights to a fair trial, it said, had been so “severely compromised” that Nxasana could not allow prosecution to continue.

NPA spokespersons failed to respond to questions from City Press.

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