SCCU head to decide on Mpisane’s fraud case

FILE PICTURE: Durban businesswoman Mabongi Flora-Junior "Shauwn" Mpisane, who is accused of submitting false documents to obtain Construction Industry Development Board gradings, which were then used to obtain public works department tenders worth R140 million, leaves the Durban Commercial Crimes Court after being granted bail on Friday, 8 February 2013. Picture: Giordano Stolley/SAPA

The decision on whether fraud charges against Durban high-flyer Shauwn Mpisane should be reinstated rests on the shoulders of controversial Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) head Lawrence Mrwebi, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said yesterday.

“It is not the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) – the SCCU head will make a determination whether to enrol the matter or not when all the challenges that led to the withdrawal have been dealt with,” NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said.

Shortly after the withdrawal of the 50 charges of fraud, forgery and uttering against Mpisane and her company, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport, in the Commercial Crime Court on January 15, the PA announced it had referred the matter to the NDPP’s Mxolisi Nxasana to decide whether processes were followed.

However, Mncube said the NPA’s role in the matter was confined to addressing shortcomings that led to the withdrawal and that the decision on whether to reinstate was that of Mrwebi.

Last year Mrwebi was accused of unilaterally stopping the prosecution of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

In November 2011 Mrwebi issued instructions to withdraw corruption charges against Mdluli but his decision was overturned by the North Gauteng High Court.

Mpisane, who at one stage faced 100 charges in separate cases, had had the charges either dropped or withdrawn due to irregularities on the prosecution’s side.

At the Durban Magistrate’s Court, Mpisane was facing tax fraud charges involving her company where she was accused of inflating invoices to the tune of R4.7 million in order to reduce her tax bill, but the charges were dropped.

In the matter that was before the Commercial Crimes Court, the 50 charges were withdrawn after the prosecutor failed to meet the defence’s deadline to hand over the forensic report and other documents relating to the matter.

This week, Durban High Court judge Kate Pillay granted the restoration of R70 million of assets belonging to Mpisane that had been placed on restraint by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) following her arrest.

The decision saw Curator Trevor White, who was in control of the assets – in the form of vehicles, fixed properties and cash – transfer R23 million into Mpisane’s account.

In her court papers, Mpisane had argued that it was no longer necessary for the State to continue placing a restraint on the assets as charges against her had been withdrawn and prospects of reinstatement were poor.

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