Harare lawyer in soup over forgery claims

Victor Maphosa Herald Reporter
A HARARE lawyer allegedly forged a colleague’s signature and produced a joint pre-trial conference minute that was used to obtain a court judgment in a civil matter.

Batanai Pesanai, a legal practitioner with IEG Musimbe Legal Practitioners, stands accused of forging the signature of prominent Marondera lawyer Mr George Laita of Laita & Partners and produced a fake minute that was relied upon in a civil trial.

Eventually, Pesanai’s client won the civil dispute on the strength of the cooked-up pre-trial minute.

Pesanai was representing Mr John Sarachi in a land dispute with Mr Sumaili Marizani.

When the parties appeared in the Chambers of Justice Charles Hungwe at the High Court, a joint pre-trial conference minute was signed.

However, Mr Pesanai reportedly forged the signature of Mr Laita, who was representing Mr Marizani and filed the fake document at the High Court.

The minute, according to Mr Marizani, was key to the civil dispute and he blames the alleged fraud for the unfavourable judgment he got. Mr Laita has since disowned the signature that is on the joint pre-trial minutes filed at the High Court.

“I have had sight of the joint pre-trial conference minute dated the 5th of January 2016 purportedly signed by me in my capacity as the counsel of record for Mr Marizani. I swear that I never originated that document, and I did not have sight of that document neither did I affix my signature thereon,” he said.

“I would not know who signed that document. The originator would be better placed to account for that signature. I was instructed to defend that matter and there was no reason I would have made the concessions contained therein because that would be contrary to my instructions from client.”

A police report has since been made against Pesanai at Harare Central Police Station and investigations were still in progress. Mr Marizani has also complained to the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ).

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