Durban’s queen of bling Shauwn Mpisane stands accused of faking documents to secure R140-million in tenders from the Department of Public Works.
Yesterday the Anti-Corruption Task Team swooped on her and her husband’s plush pad in La Lucia to seize their assets, including a flashy fleet of 25 cars.
Although Mpisane’s alleged corrupt ways of using taxpayer’s money to finance her extravagant lifestyle are definitely worthy of the zero title, the negligent system which enabled her to get away with these abuses until now is also highly deserving of zero treatment.
Mpisane is currently facing 53 charges of fraud, forgery and utterances. She and her husband, S’bu Mpisane, a former metro police officer, are suspected to have submitted falsified information to enhance their business’s grading, which is done by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).
On Wednesday the Asset Forfeiture Unit seized the Mpisane’s R80-million La Lucia home and a number of luxury vehicles. She handed herself over to the court on Thursday morning and now awaits a bail decision.
Head of the KwaZulu-Natal Anti-corruption Task Team Colonel Kuben Naidoo stated in his affidavit that between September 2005 and September 2012, Mpisane, or people acting on behalf of her company, had submitted tenders to the provincial Public Works Department for various construction projects that were awarded based on CIDB grades.
Naidoo added that the documents that were submitted were fraudulent and the department unknowingly accepted these fabricated grades.
Among the fraudulent documents submitted were false tax clearance certificates for 2005 and 2006, and forged annual financial statements submitted to the board for the years ending February 2008 and February 2009, IOL reported.
Mpisane will also face charges of making dishonest declarations to the board that she did not have a criminal record despite being convicted of 62 counts of fraud in May 2005.
On Thursday Mpisane said she intended to plead not guilty to the 53 charges against her and accused the State of repeatedly “investigating the same issue and bringing up new charges based on similar facts”.
A source within the construction industry defended Mpisane’s company and her work by saying that construction companies had tried to discredit her because she was not part of a price-fixing cartel, according to IOL.
“She refused to be drawn into this collusion where some of the biggest companies in the construction industry have been exposed for price collusion, which was well-known in the industry for the past two years,” said her defender.
The Mail&Guardian today reported that South Africa’s construction sector was “rife with corruption, fraud, racketeering and collusion, all sanctioned by the leadership of South Africa’s biggest construction companies”.