Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A Harare lawyer is in prison waiting for an appropriate sentence to be imposed on him following his conviction on charges of fraud.
Simbarashe Tsaurai (30) of Tsaurai, Tafirei and Chikwai Legal Practitioners, was last year convicted of theft of trust property and forgery charges.
He was slapped with a one year effective prison term before he was released by the High Court on bail pending appeal.
Tsaurai was again convicted of fraud last Thursday by magistrate Ms Audrey Tarugarira who referred the record to the Prosecutor General’s office because she is of the view that a sentence in excess of her jurisdiction is justified in this case.
Her jurisdiction has a maximum of two years, therefore, she referred the record to the Prosecutor General’s office in terms of section 54 (2) of the magistrates court Act.
The section states that; “If, upon the conviction of an accused person upon summary trial or trial on remittal by the PG, before sentence is passed, the magistrate is of the opinion that a sentence in excess of his jurisdiction is justified, he may adjourn the case and remand the person convicted and submit a report to the PG, together with a copy of the record of the proceedings in the case”.
Prosecutor Mr Thomas Mabwe, with the assistance of Mrs Moleen Murozvi-Sibanda, proved that one Maparanyanga subdivided his plot so that he would sell part of it which he later sold to Select Housing Trust.
The housing trust paid the money in two terms and after the payment was done, he realised that he had done something illegal since the City of Harare had stopped subdivisions of plots.
He then cancelled the agreement and communicated this to Tsaurai who was representing the Trust. The matter was taken to the High Court and the subdivision was cancelled.
Tsaurai went on to forge letters which he took to the City of Harare misrepresenting that the matter had been solved by the higher court and that the stand could be sold.
However, Tsaurai denied the charges but was later convicted after a full trial due to overwhelming evidence.
In aggravation Mr Mabwe told the court that only a custodial sentence would meet the justice of the offence.