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Land developer fights Mnangagwa's graft buster

by Staff reporter
03 May 2021 at 05:26hrs | Views
PROPERTY developers, Pokugara have accused officials from the National Prosecuting Authority and Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu) housed in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's office of interfering with judicial processes to stop the prosecution of businessman George Katsimberis.

Pokugara last Wednesday wrote to the Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi claiming that some Sacu officials were conniving with Katsimberis' lawyer, Tendai Biti to protect him from being prosecuted.

Katsimberis is being accused of presenting fake house plans that he used to construct a showhouse under Pokugara Properties in Borrowdale.

He was reported to the police by Michael John Van Blerk, a director of Pokugara for fraud under CR 303/06/19 after City of Harare condemned the plans. However, under unclear circumstances, Van Blerk and witnesses in the case were instead arrested after Katsimberis reported them for perjury to the Criminal Investigation Department under the Police Anti-Corruption Unit, under DR 04/08/19.

Pokugara claims the arrest of Van Blerk was caused by Sacu working with Biti.

The matter came to light after the City of Harare ordered Pokugara to demolish Katsimberis' showhouse on the basis that it was built with metal material from abroad that is not acceptable in Zimbabwe. He was accused of failing to follow town planning by-laws.

Katsimberis lost an appeal at the High Court against the demolition after former City of Harare town clerk Hosiah Chisango told the court that the stamps on the plans were fake.

Sacu boss Thabani Mpofu reportedly wrote a letter to Hodzi in March to stop prosecution against Katsimberis, whom he said was a witness being victimised.

This followed a letter by Biti to Sacu, seeking its intervention against prosecution of Katsimberis, who he claimed was being charged on the same facts he presented as evidence in court as a State witness.

"Sacu is deeply concerned that a witness who is lined up to testify on behalf of the State that is George Katsimberis is now being charged on the same facts and the accused persons in his case are now the witnesses in a case against him.

"Corruption-related cases should be handled in a well-co-ordinated manner and a witness, who is about to stand to testify in a case, should not be made to be put in a situation which appears like he is being charged or punished for testifying against certain individuals," Mpofu said.

"Sacu, therefore, by copy of this letter, advises your esteemed office and all the concerned parties to take note and consider how best justice can be saved in his case. Sacu is of the view that a case which was reported must be completed without threatening a witness with criminal charges of the same facts."

In the letter, Mpofu allegedly misrepresented to Hodzi that it was the police which arrested Katsimberis after he had reported Van Blerk and Chisango.

Following Mpofuā€˜s letter to Hodzi, Biti reportedly wrote a letter on April 12, 2021 to the regional prosecutor handling Katsimberis' case in an effort to convince him to stop the trial.

Both Biti and Mpofu were not picking calls yesterday.

Source - newsday
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