Businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane is on trial for fraud.

Durban - Wealthy businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane was arrested on Friday after she allegedly attempted to a bribe a witness in her forthcoming fraud trial.

Mpisane, accompanied by her husband, S’bu, handed herself over to the Hawks at the Malvern police station, at 10.30am.

A convoy of luxury vehicles, including a BMW, Audi and Range Rover, with several bodyguards were spotted outside the police station.

A source said she had been approached by Hawks investigators and members of the Anti-Corruption Task Team, at her La Lucia home early on Friday morning and informed of the charges against her.

An informer had tipped off police about the alleged bribe.

It was agreed she would not be taken into custody by police and that she would hand herself over in the presence of her attorney.

Hawks spokesman, McIntosh Polela, said Mpisane was warned to hand herself over at the Malvern police station by 11am.

She was expected to appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on charges of bribery and corruption and defeating the ends of Justice, Polela said.

“This is a very serious offence. Our members acted swiftly after they had received information about the alleged bribe.”

Her legal representative, advocate Jimmy Howse, said he could not divulge any information. He refused to confirm if Mpisane had been arrested or if she would be appearing in court.

Mpisane is facing 173 charges of fraud, forgery and uttering involving R4.7m.

Her trial on fraud and other charges is scheduled to start in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

She owns the Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport CC and Ukhozi Civil Cleaning and Construction.

The South African Revenue Services has laid criminal charges against Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport.

The State alleges she submitted false invoices to claim VAT.

She is out on R50 000 bail for alleged fraud and forgery.

The Daily News’s sister paper, The Mercury, reported this week that Mpisane is in line to rake in more millions from lucrative housing tenders from the eThekwini Municipality, despite facing multiple charges of tax fraud.

According to a report that was discussed at the city’s executive committee meeting this week, the municipality used section 36 of the supply chain management policy to award Mpisane’s company, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport, the same contract – and more – that was suspended last November.

This was to build 2 825 houses and retaining walls in Umlazi. It has been reported that the value of the deal is at least R141 million.

Originally, the contract was suspended by the municipality after it found that the awarding of the tender was flawed because procurement processes had not been followed and contract documents might have been manipulated.

Mpisane and her husband, S’bu, a former metro policeman, have been described as super rich with a fleet of luxury cars and a R15m mansion.

During her previous court appearance, Mpisane denied the charges of fraud against her and blamed it on her former bookkeeper, Kishal Reddy.

In her plea explanation she said in spite of instructing Reddy to obtain “genuine” invoices, he went ahead and produced false ones, unbeknown to her.

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 on the invoices which are said to be fake.

Daily News