State’s bid denied in Mpisane trial

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Durban - The State's application to re-open a trial-within-a-trial in the fraud case of businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane was denied by the Durban Regional Court on Friday.

The court held the trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of evidence submitted by the State.

The State and the defence were supposed to present their final arguments in the matter on Friday.

“It has happened before that the State has brought an application to lead evidence. Every case develops its own history as it progresses,” magistrate Blessing Msane said.

“In this case, the history has largely been about applications. When I made my last ruling I expressed hope that it would be the last time I make a ruling on an application, but it seems I was being optimistic.”

He said the State should learn to present its full case in one go.

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 the Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance, and Transport CC when she had a fraud conviction.

She has pleaded not guilty.

Earlier, prosecutor Meera Naidu told the court she wanted to lead further evidence, and to challenge evidence brought by the defence.

Jimmy Howse, for Mpisane, opposed the application.

“Every time the matter has been set down to progress there's been a strategy that disrupts that progress and delays the process,” Howse said.

He objected to the State calling more witnesses, saying it wanted to bring SA Revenue Services investigator Martin van der Merwe who had been attending court proceedings, and an official from the eThekwini municipality.

He said the State had been aware of the trial within-a-trial since in February.

The matter continues. - Sapa


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