By SAPA/Business Report
Executive summary (SAIT Technical)
Shauwn Mpisane, business woman and sole member of Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport CC, faces at least 119 charges in her tax fraud trial. She is accused of inflating invoices by more than R5m in order to reduce her tax liability. She has pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor had asked for an adjournment earlier as the state was not ready to lead evidence. The request was rejected by the magistrate.
The State proceeded with the fraud trial of businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane "under protest” in the Durban Regional Court yesterday.
State advocate Meera Naidu told the court she would lead evidence but would at the same time launch a high court application to review the ruling that allowed the court to proceed with Mpisane’s fraud trial.
Earlier, Naidu had asked the court for an adjournment to review the decision it made on Friday. Magistrate Blessing Msani rejected the State’s application. On Friday, Msani ruled that Mpisane’s fraud trial should proceed.
Mpisane is accused of inflating invoices by more than R5 million to cut her tax bill.
She is also accused of violating the Close Corporations Act by remaining the sole member of Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport CC when she had a previous fraud conviction. She has pleaded not guilty.
The State lost two of its applications to link charges against Mpisane at two different courts – the Durban Regional Court and the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court – and one to amend the charge sheet.
It wanted to add another 12 tax-related charges to the 119 charges Mpisane faces in her fraud trial.
On October 19, she was arrested on fresh charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice for allegedly contacting one of the witnesses expected to testify in her fraud trial.
Mpisane appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court and was released on bail of R50 000.
"The State wants to proceed with the review. Should the high court rule in the State’s favour then Mpisane’s fraud trial will be set aside.
"The State feels strongly about joining [the] charges Mpisane is facing in the Pinetown [and] Durban courts,” Naidu said.
The State also wanted the decision not to amend Mpisane’s charge sheet, or to add new charges, to be reviewed.
Msani told Naidu that launching an application in the high court to review his ruling while proceeding with Mpisane’s fraud trial was not practical.
"Your attitude to law is not correct. I don’t see how that can be workable,” he said.
Defence advocate Jimmy Howse told the court he did not see how the State’s witness was relevant to the trial as he had not made any statements. Msani allowed Naidu to lead evidence with Mashudu Johannes Makwakwa who works for the SA Revenue Service.
Naidu said Makwakwa was relevant to the State’s case. His evidence related to all but one of the 119 charges in Mpisane’s fraud trial.
Makwakwa works as a group executive at Sars in Pretoria. He is the head of auditing. He testified he first became involved with the Mpisane case in March 2009 when he was made aware that she owed Sars R33 million.
Of that money R13m was contested and R20m in dispute. Mpisane only paid R3m of the R20m, Makwakwa said.
Howse asked that the matter to be adjourned to today to take in-struction from Mpisane and to prepare cross-examination