City of Harare bosses, Pokugara acquitted

Prosper Dembedza Herald Correspondent

City of Harare bosses and Pokugara Properties representatives who were accused of malicious damage to property today heaved a sigh of relief following their acquittal by Harare regional magistrate Mrs Florence Chakanyuka.

The City bosses, Zvenyika Chawatama, Samuel Nyabeze, Lasten Taonezvi, Pokugara Properties representative Marlone Ndebele and former Pokugara general manager Michael Van Blerk were acquitted at the end of the State case after the State failed to prove a case against them.

They were facing allegations of ordering the destruction of a house in Borrowdale that was built with a fraudulent building plan.

The house was built by the complainant George Katsimberis in a joint venture agreement with Pokugara Properties to built cluster houses in Borrowdale.

In acquitting them, Mrs Chakanyuka said the State led by Zivavani Macharaga failed to prove a prima facie case against them.

She said the State failed to prove that the demolition order issued by the council was invalid and no evidence led to challenge the order.

She further said the joint venture was invalidated by the High Court and it left the complainant with less power to challenge the building as the City Council didn’t know Katsimberis but Pokugara Properties which had the land.

Mrs Chakanyuka also ruled that the witness Roy Nyabvure’s testimony was all marred by bitterness and could not provide clear evidence on who approved that building plan.
She said there was no evidence submitted before the court that showed the building plan was circulated to all departments that are responsible for approving the plan.

“The exhibits in this case showed that the accused persons and the complainant were on each other’s throat for a very long time and this has a bearing on this case’s determination,” magistrate Chakanyuka ruled.

“The joint venture was invalidated and this has left the complainant will less control over the structure.

“There is no evidence led in court on who approved the plan. There is no evidence to show the plan went through all departments,” said the magistrate in acquitting the accused persons.

The magistrate also acquitted the City bosses of an alternative charge of criminal abuse of office allegations saying no evidence led to prove the the letters written by the council were irregular.

Only two witnesses testified in this matter, Katsimberis and Nyabvure.

Katsimberis had built the showroom in a joint venture agreement with Pokugara Properties but the building was condemned after it was discovered that the plan was fraudulent and the material used were not correct.

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