Sars punished Mpisane for honesty

Durban businesswoman was punished for making a voluntary disclosure to the SA Revenue Service.

Durban businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane was punished for making a voluntary disclosure to the SA Revenue Service (Sars), the Durban Regional Court heard on Monday.

Mpisane’s lawyer, Rafiq Bhana SC, said his client was “a taxpayer making every effort to regularise their [tax] affairs”, but that the SA Revenue Service “nailed” her in 2005 when she made a voluntary disclosure.

Bhana, who was cross-examining Sars tax auditor Waheeda Osman, said this was why his client sought legal advice when Sars questioned her during the lifestyle audit of her husband, Sbu Mpisane.

Mabongi Flora Junior Shauwn Mpisane is accused of inflating invoices by more than R5 million in a bid to cut her tax bill. She is also accused of violating the Close Corporations Act by remaining the sole member of Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport CC when she had a previous fraud conviction. She has pleaded not guilty.

Last week Osman testified that Shauwn Mpisane and Zikhulise became the subject of closer scrutiny when it emerged she was funding her husband’s lifestyle. He was a constable with the eThekwini metro police at the time.

Bhana accused Osman of wanting “to take the Mpisanes out at all cost”, and of failing to respect Sars’ service charter, which obliged her to look after taxpayers’ interests.

He claimed she suppressed information that would have improved Mpisane’s position.

Osman denied she was being vindictive or being aware of Mpisane’s 2005 conviction. She said prior to being tasked with carrying out the lifestyle audit she had no idea who the Mpisanes were.

The case continues.