Naidoo ‘feels betrayed’ - Advocate says she acted on instructions from SARS in now-wavering Mpisane case

2013-09-18 00:00

STATE prosecutor advocate Meera Naidu is being unfairly blamed for maliciously prosecuting Durban business woman Shauwn Mpisane and is prepared to challenge any move to suspend her, arguing that she acted on instructions from SARS, say well-placed sources in the case.

Speaking to The Witness, a source said Naidu feels betrayed and humiliated at being removed from the tax fraud trial involving the business tycoon.

“Meera has been working on this matter for over two years and has consulted and acted on instructions from SARS every step of the way. SARS even sent their heavyweights from Pretoria to attend court proceedings keep watch over the case and did not advise Meera at any stage that she was acting unprofessionally or that they were unhappy with the way she was conducting the trial.

“Now that problems have arisen in their case they are trying to blame her, which she is understandably very upset about. She has been quiet all along in taking the flak but the final straw was her removal from the case and the fact that she may be suspended over this issue, which has left a huge dent in her credibility. She is seeking legal advice and has all the evidence to back up her facts,” added the source.

Naidu who has previously spoken in depth to The Witness, did not wish to respond following her removal from the Mpisane matter last week, saying it had become a “union issue”. She referred all queries to NPA regional spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson, who declined to comment.

In their response, SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay hit back at allegations that its officials were in court to “keep watch” over Naidu.

“SARS is a complainant in the criminal matter in question and as such SARS observes proceedings in court and have done so throughout the legal processes relating to the matter. How the prosecution is conducted before court is the prerogative of the National Prosecution Authority (NPA),” said Lackay.

Mpisane’s legal team have complained that the entire prosecution of their client has been conducted unfairly and maliciously and have exposed serious weaknesses in the investigations into her tax affairs during the trial.

These include admissions by lead SARS investigator Waheeda Osman that she suffered “short-term amnesia” and failed to mention in court that Mpisane had in fact paid most of her taxes and had been incorrectly accused of inflating her tax invoices by more than R4 million.

Osman was subsequently also removed from the matter following a complaint from Mpisane.

With both lead investigator and state prosecutor removed from the controversial case, there is widespread speculation that the matter is likely to be withdrawn when it resumes next month, given that the credibility of both investigation and prosecution is now in question.

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