Mpisanes lose bid to regain assets

2013-10-15 00:00

DURBAN high-flyers Shauwn and Sbu Mpisane have lost their bid to regain control of R70,5 million of their assets under restraint by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

In a reserved judgment handed down yesterday, Judge Sharmaine Balton confirmed a court order obtained by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) placing the couple’s assets valued at R70 595 746 under restraint in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The couple had lodged a counter-claim to discharge the original court order granted on January 31.

The Mpisanes’ legal team had argued that the restraint order should be lifted on various grounds, such as the NDPP’s failure to disclose material facts in the original application that had been brought without prior notice to the Mpisanes.

They complained that the NDPP had “overstated” the extent to which the couple allegedly benefited from crime by including a Clairwood Hospital tender that had been cancelled.

Judge Balton said it was well established law that when an application was brought ex parte (without notice), the party bringing it had to be “ultra scrupulous” in disclosing facts that might influence a court’s decision.

She noted her disapproval that the NDPP did not indicate in this case that the Clairwood Hospital tender had been cancelled, but found that even if this happened, the court would still have granted the order.

Balton found the “evidence on paper” shows there are reasonable grounds to believe that Shauwn and her company Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport CC may be convicted of the criminal charges they face — 53 counts of fraud, forgery and uttering.

She said the trial court will decide if they are guilty, whether they’d actually benefited from their crimes and whether a confiscation order should be made. She rejected claims that the NDPP’s application was mala fide (malicious).

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