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SUSPENDED national police commissioner Bheki Cele was slated yesterday for attending the court case of his “foster daughter”, wealthy businesswoman and tax fraud accused Shauwn Mpisane.
Mpisane – who has strong family ties with Cele – pulled in the big guns for what was to be day one of her trial on R5 million tax fraud charges.
Cele – her “father figure” – sat behind her in the public gallery. He arrived alone, with no ceremony. He acknowledged reporters but then spoke to no one, and he did not return after the lunch adjournment.
But his presence in the courtroom was slammed as being “utterly inappropriate” by Paul Hoffman of the Institute of Accountability in Southern Africa.
“It’s right up there with (jailed former police commissioner) Jackie Selebi when he said of Glenn Agliotti, ‘he’s my friend… finish and klaar’. And look at where he (Selebi) is now. He is violating all the principles expected of him by the constitution.”
The DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard said: “
It is most inappropriate. He has no boundaries and does not understand the impact of what he does sometimes.”
Cele’s spokesman, Vuyo Mkhize, said he had gone to court to give Mpisane moral support.
“Her father, now deceased, was his best friend. He promised to look after her. He was in town and he took the opportunity. He considers her his foster daughter.”
Mpisane’s other “big gun” was respected advocate Wim Trengove SC, who launched a pre-trial application yesterday, attempting to persuade magistrate Blessing Msani to compel the State to disclose more details of its case against her so that she can properly prepare for trial.
It was revealed at the start of proceedings yesterday that the State had compiled a new charge sheet in which Mpisane and her close corporation, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport, are facing 118 charges of fraud and one of contravening the Close Corporations Act.
The case was adjourned until this morning.