Businessman Sivan walks free
LOCAL businessman Ofer Sivan and his personal assistant Cassandra Myburg have been acquitted of fraud charges laid against them for more than one year.
Sivan and Myburg maintained their innocence over the months of court appearances on allegations brought against them by complainant and another businessman Gilad Shabtai, but the courts dismissed them as false.
Allegations were that Sivan, who is a director of Adlecraft Private Limited and his assistant Myberg allegedly misrepresented to Stanbic Bank that Shabtai, who is also a director had agreed with them to open two bank accounts in the name of the company at Belgravia branch and allegedly forged Shabtai’s signature on the account opening forms.
It was also alleged that they also manufactured a company resolution on September 20, 2020 appointing Sivan as sole director of the company.
The duo was also accused of withdrawing and misappropriating sums of $22 359 513,14 and US$762 983,06, thereby causing financial prejudice to the company.
During the trial, the first State witness, Simba Mawere, who is a legal advisor to Stanbic Bank, confirmed that all the necessary procedures for opening the company accounts had been meticulously followed, with no complaints ever lodged against the bank.
This testimony discredited the State’s allegations, proving that Sivan and Myburg had acted ethically and in full compliance with banking regulations.
The second witness also from Stanbic Bank identified as L. Nhari, exposed the lack of credibility in Shabtai’s case.
Nhari testified that he had been approached by Shabtai’s legal representative, who provided him with selected documents and samples of Shabtai’s signature.
However, Nhari expressed his frustration at being summoned as a witness for a case he had no knowledge of. He further revealed that he had never been approached by investigating officers or the complainant regarding the allegations.
These revelations concerned the court, leading to High Court judge, Justice Pisirai Kwenda warning State prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudi.
The judge emphasised that the complainant, Shabtai, along with other witnesses, should attend the trial on specific dates. But, when the trial resumed, neither Shabtai nor his partner Munyaradzi Gonyora appeared.
“A criminal court should not be misled into presiding over a private prosecution, which is disguised as a public prosecution based on a police docket compiled from police investigations. The State is expected to secure the attendance of State witnesses through the subpoena because it has the force of law,” said Justice Kwenda.
Investigating Officer Owen Mutembwa, under oath, admitted that he had never conducted any investigations into the matter and had only received a file from his supervisor. This admission severely undermined the credibility of the prosecution’s case.
The State then withdrew the allegations against Sivan and Myburg, resulting in the complete dismissal of the case.