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Biti accuses businesswoman of forging Harare Airport Road documents

by Simbarashe Sithole
20 Dec 2022 at 17:24hrs | Views
Former Finance minister Tendai Biti has accused a controversial Harare businesswoman of forging documents that saw the construction of the incomplete Harare Airport Road being granted national project status.

Biti made the claim during his ongoing application to have a case where he is accused of verbally assaulting Tatiana Aleshina, the businesswoman of Ukrainian origin who has a Russian passport, referred to the Constitutional Court because the prosecution is in violation of his rights.

Aleshina is a business partner of Harare property developer Ken Sharpe who also owns Augur Investments, the company that was given the contract to construct the Harare Airport Road under controversial circumstances.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Michael Reza, Biti said he had nothing against the Ukrainian even after she raised the assault allegations against him.

He disowned a letter presented before magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti as purported evidence that the Harare Airport Road project was above board, saying it was doctored by Aleshina.

The letter dated April 12, 2009 showed that Augur Investments was granted special project status for the project that remains incomplete years after it began.

Biti, who was Finance minister at the time, said he did not sign the document for the special project status as required by law.

He pleaded with the court to consider evidence he presented that allegedly shows that Aleshina had captured state institutions, including the President's Office and the judiciary.

Biti said the businesswoman was manipulating the judiciary to push the case against him.

 "I do not have anything personal against Tatiana Aleshina," he said.
"Before the allegations I used to see her around and even now I occasionally bump into her at restaurants."

According to Biti, Aleshina's alleged underhand dealings in the botched land deal between council and Augur Investments over the Harare Airport Road demonstrated her character.

"The evidence I provided shows the nature of the complainant through her breaching the contract by failing to construct the road and also inserting a penalty clause," he said.

"The bill of quantities showed that the road was to be constructed for US$80 million yet nothing was done.

"So the evidence shows the toxic power of the complainant, the documents speak for themselves."

During the cross examination Reza claimed Biti said was bitter because a company he represented in a court case was locked in a dispute with Aleshina's Augur Investments.

 "D7(a dossier presented by Biti) involves Fairclot Investments and these are your clients," he said.
"You are bitter because Fairclot was not paid US$4 million."

In response Biti said: "I am not the lawyer for Fairclot in that particular case.

"I, however, represent them in a different case."

The Citizens Coalition for Change deputy president also raised an issue about attacks by Zanu PF politburo member Patrick Chinamasa, who called a press conference to respond to Biti's arrest over the Aleshina incident.

"He prejudged me that I had committed the crime," he charged.

"How does a spokesperson of a ruling party call for a press conference to address an assault case when in this country we have had heinous crimes like corruption such as those of Prisca Mupfumira who stole US$93 million and Delish Ngwauya who stole over US$60 million of Covid funds and abuse of human rights.

"This case has attracted attention from high up people like the former spokesperson of Zanu PF."

Biti said Aleshina had power to command top government officials, including members of the judiciary, to do her bidding.
Muchuchuti is expected to rule on the case on January 30, 2023.

Source - Byo24News