Mpisane owes taxman R1.8m

Controversial former Metro cop S'bu Mpisane and his wife Shawn.

Controversial former Metro cop S'bu Mpisane and his wife Shawn.

Published Jun 3, 2011


Dressed from head to toe in designer gear, Durban multimillionaire Shauwn Mpisane was exposed in the Durban Regional Court on Thursday as a convicted fraudster who ripped off the taxman by R1.8 million, and who was disqualified from running a business.

In an Armani hat, towering platform shoes, made famous by Lady Gaga, and a cream lacy dress more befitting a society wedding than the dock of a Durban court, the controversial businesswoman - whose companies have benefited from many government tenders - is now facing further charges of fraud, alternatively tax evasion, amounting to R2.4m.

Mpisane, whose first names are Mabongi Flora-Junior, according to the charge sheet, looked perplexed when she walked into court and had to be guided to her place in the dock.

There was no sign of her husband, former metro policeman S’bu Mpisane, in the public gallery, but he was later seen waiting at the court’s bail office and his black Porsche Cayenne was parked outside the Durban Central police station.

After playing hide-and-seek with the media all day, Shauwn Mpisane was granted bail of R50 000 and ducked photographers who were waiting outside by leaving in one of two luxury vehicles that she and her entourage had arrived in.

The 35-year-old mother - who clutched her BlackBerry and sunglasses while sitting in the dock - is accused, along with her company, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport CC, of submitting false invoices for VAT, as well as under-declaring VAT.

Further charges of forgery and uttering related to the submission of fabricated invoices to Sars in support of the VAT claims, specialist prosecutor advocate Meera Naidu told magistrate Anita Govender on Thursday.

A final charge is that Mpisane contravened the Close Corporations Act by managing a business in spite of being disqualified because of her previous conviction.

Ironically, at her side representing her on Thursday was tax expert, lawyer and old family friend Themba Mjoli, who had previously prosecuted her when he was head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s specialist tax unit.

In terms of bail legislation, an accused has to disclose previous convictions and pending cases. While initially Mjoli only disclosed that it was “tax related”, pressed by the magistrate for more information, he said it dated back to 2004/05 when Mpisane was “of a tender age”, new in business, and “could not tell the difference between (an) income tax number as opposed to the other number”.

“It was agreed that she would pay all the money back and she would have a suspended sentence,” he said.

Naidu disclosed that the amount involved was R1.8m. She said Mpisane had been convicted of fraud “because she had failed to register as a VAT vendor, but was charging VAT which she failed to pay over to Sars”. A further charge, she said, was that she had not declared income to Sars.

Naidu said the present investigation should be finalised within two months.

The present charge sheet, she said, was only a draft and could change.

She said the State was not opposing bail because Mpisane had co-operated with the investigation, including a search-and-seizure raid which took place at her Addison Drive, La Lucia, home and at business premises in Sandringham Court, Umhlanga Ridge, on Wednesday. She had handed herself in at the Point police station on Thursday morning.

Mjoli also disclosed that there was an “ongoing civil matter” between Mpisane and Sars in which Sars had now conceded it owed her R10m, not the other way round. So far, it had paid R4m.

The magistrate ordered Mpisane to hand in her passport. The matter was adjourned until next month.

The Mercury on Thursday sent questions to the eThekwini municipality, asking if Mpisane had been given housing tenders after 2005 when she would have been barred from running a business because of her previous conviction. Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said the matter would be investigated. - The Mercury

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