ABOVE: File photo: Independent Media/Iol News
Durban – A Durban High Court judge has given the State the green light to go ahead with criminal proceedings against a local bookkeeper accused of submitting fraudulent tax refunds totalling more than R250 million.
Judge Mahendra Chetty recently dismissed Vikash Mohan’s application for a stay of prosecution in three separate criminal cases.
Mohan launched his application last April and in June, Judge Mokgere Masipa had granted him interim relief which had the effect of being a temporary stay of prosecution.
The case then went before Judge Chetty for the interim relief to be made final.
Mohan had wanted the cases against him halted pending the completion of investigations by the South African Revenue Services, the SAPS and the Public Protector because – he claimed – he was being singled out and had proof of “a conspiracy involving others”.
But Judge Chetty, in a judgment handed down this month, said Mohan was not “fully candid” with the court when the matter came before Judge Masipa and had not disclosed that one of his cases was already at trial stage in the regional court.
“The issue of disclosure, both by litigants as well as by the legal representatives, who owe a duty at all times to place the full facts before the court, is an essential ingredient in a system designed to achieve a fair and just outcome of a dispute,” the judge said.
Judge Chetty said he would have dismissed the entire application based solely on this.
When Mohan launched his application, he had lodged a complaint with the office of Judge Essa Moosa – the oversight judge for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) – alleging that the State refused to look into information which could exonerate him.
Judge Moosa – who passed away this weekend – had referred the matter to the head of the Hawks for investigation and Mohan had wanted to stay his prosecution until the investigation was complete.
But, Judge Chetty said, while Mohan complained that no investigations had taken place related to the oversight judge’s recommendations, he had “stonewalled” efforts by the SAPS to interview him and obtain an affidavit.
“[He], it seems, wishes to dictate who should be assigned to investigate the matter, how such investigations should be done and that he would be the arbiter as to whether the investigations had been properly concluded,” the judge said.
Judge Chetty said If he were to grant the order, it could have the effect of a “never ending saga in which [Mohan] could indefinitely frustrate the prosecutorial process by adopting the view that no level of investigating would be sufficient or adequate for him”.
The judge said he was not persuaded that his right to a fair trial was being infringed.
Mohan’s application was dismissed and the temporary stay of prosecution he had obtained was discharged.