Mpisanes to start next round in court on March 12

2013-03-01 00:00

THE next round in the legal battle between the Asset Forfeiture Unit and Durban socialites Shauwn and Sbu Mpisane has been set down for hearing in the Pietermaritzburg high court on March 12.

The Mpisane couple and two companies, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport CC, and Zikhulise Auto Restorers CC, want the court to discharge the order it granted on January 31, restraining their assets.

The initial amount sought in terms of the restraint order was R140 million, but this was later halved, Trevor White, the curator in control of the assets, confirmed in his affidavit.

White maintains, however, that the value of the property (including that owned by the Mkhimpi Family Trust), vehicles and household goods that were restrained by the state, doesn’t even total the R70 million being sought.

He said an independent evaluation by appraiser Craig Wood put the total value of the property at R40 869 507 after debts were deducted. According to White, a total of 59 vehicles were restrained, including nine luxury vehicles from the Mpisane’s La Lucia home.

White said on the day they removed the vehicles that he had asked Sbu Mpisane which ones he and Shauwn wanted to retain for their use. Sbu Mpisane told him the only vehicle he ever used was a bullet-proofed BMW 550.

The reason for that, he said, was because when he used any of the other luxury vehicles, members of the public hurled abuse at him. He also believed that there was a need for him to be protected while travelling, said White. He said Mpisane had said that his wife required a 4x4 to travel to construction sites and he (White) offered to leave her a Hummer. However, Sbu Mpisane said they would prefer to keep a new Range Rover they’d bought the previous week for R1,7 million (and in respect of which they’d exchanged two Lamborghinis).

White said he had left behind both these vehicles, as well as a Mercedes C320 used by Mpisane’s mother.

On March 12, Mpisane’s lawyers are expected to argue that the restraint order against their assets ought to be discharged on a number of grounds. These include allegations that the AFU failed to disclose “material facts” when it applied for the original order.

They also submit that there is no correlation between the value of the assets that were restrained and the potential benefit the accused may have gained (from any criminal conduct which has yet to be proved). It has also been submitted on behalf of Sbu Mpisane that he has not been charged with any crime, nor is there allegedly any intention to do so.

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