Mpisane denies tax-dodge allegations
19 June 2012
Posted by: SAIT Technical
By Rizwana Sheik Umar (Business Report/Daily News)
Businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane has denied more than 100 charges of fraud against her, laying blame squarely on her former bookkeeper.
In a written plea read out by her lawyer, advocate Wim Trengove SC, at Durban Regional Court on Friday, Mabongi Flora-Junior (better known as Shauwn) Mpisane pleaded not guilty to defrauding the taxman by allegedly forging invoices involving more than R5 million.
Mpisane, who has a previous fraud conviction, has also been charged with contravening the Close Corporations Act.
In her plea explanation she said despite instructing Kishal Reddy to obtain "genuine” invoices he went ahead and produced false ones, unbeknown to her.
Reddy was hired as a full-time accountant in October 2008 to keep up with the "exponential growth” of her close corporation, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport, whose financial statements recorded an increase in sales from R34m in 2007 to R120m in 2008.
In February 2010, when another bookkeeper, Trevor Dalton, was hired to assist with the demands of the business, he found Reddy's work to be in a shambles and spent months trying to rectify it.
According to the plea, shortly after Dalton raised his suspicions about the authenticity of the invoices, Reddy resigned.
Reddy, who is the State's main witness, pleaded guilty last July to two charges of forgery and contravening the VAT Act, saying it was on Mpisane's orders.
He was fined R30 000.
The State alleges that invoices were forged to falsely inflate purchases from suppliers to minimise the income tax owed.
Mpisane denied the allegations, saying that Zikhulise's actual purchases far exceeded the values reflected in the invoices which are said to be fake.
In the case of her previous conviction, on November 22 2004, Mpisane pleaded guilty and was convicted on 62 counts of fraud.
The recipient of several big-budget tenders, she was sentenced to three years' imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years.
She pleaded guilty on the understanding that she would continue as sole member of Zikhulise.
The Close Corporations Act, which was amended last year, no longer limits someone who has been given a wholly suspended sentence, and therefore does not apply to Mpisane.
The Sunday Tribune reported that city manager Sibusiso Sithole would be investigating the controversial contracts awarded to the flamboyant businesswoman.
Mpisane and her husband, former metro police officer Sbu Mpisane, comfortably posed for media pictures on Friday, in stark contrast to the pandemonium that broke out earlier last week where Independent Newspapers photographer Terry Haywood was manhandled by Mpisane supporters and bodyguards for snapping a picture of her.
Haywood has since opened a case of assault.