Witness admits seeing prior testimony

2013-06-28 00:00

THE prosecutor in the trial of Durban tycoon Shauwn Mpisane was warned of a possible sanction, the Durban Regional Court heard yesterday.

Judge Blessing Msani warned prosecutor Meera Naidu that she could face possible sanction when it became apparent that a key state witness, Waheeda Osman, a senior audit official at the SA Revenue Service (SARS) Durban office, conceded she had been read the transcript of another state witness while in preparation for her taking the stand.

Osman has been on the stand for a combined total of 13 days since May and has since Tuesday been under cross-examination.

Her evidence is being used as the basis for criminal charges against Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport CC, of which Mpisane is a sole director. Mpisane is facing 118 counts of fraud and another for contravening the Close Corporations Act. Zikhulise is accused of creating fictitious invoices to give the company a tax break of R4,8-million.

On Tuesday, legal counsel for Mpisane, Rafik Bhana SC, probed the possibility of Osman having seen testimony given to the court by SARS group executive Mashudu Johannes Makwakwa in November 2012 before she was brought to the stand. While Osman conceded to Bhana that she had seen the transcripts, he was not able to categorically extract this statement out of Osman during his cross-examination.

However, Msani probed the matter further once the defence had completed the cross-examination. Osman admitted under oath to Msani that she had been privy to Makwakwa’s transcript.

This revelation could be damaging to the state’s case as it could mean the evidence given by Osman could be deemed unreliable and tainted.

Witnesses are generally not allowed to see another witness’s testimony before taking the stand, to make sure their evidence is independent and honest.

“Do you realise the concessions made by the witness [Osman] are quite damaging to you [Naidu]? This is an ethical matter,” said Msani.

Naidu did not deny that Osman had seen Makwakwa’s transcripts.

The trial is set to continue on July 8.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.