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Katsimberis' Case: Council Officials, Pokugara Properties Acquitted

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Katsimberis' Case: Council Officials, Pokugara Properties Acquitted

City of Harare bosses and Pokugara Properties representatives were acquitted of malicious damage to property charges when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Florence Chakanyuka on Thursday.

The City bosses, Zvenyika Chawatama, Samuel Nyabeze, Lasten Taonezvi, Pokugara Properties representative Marlone Ndebele and former Pokugara general manager Michael Van Blerk were acquitted 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 build cluster houses in Borrowdale.

In acquitting them, Mrs Chakanyuka said the State failed to prove that the demolition order issued by the council was invalid and no evidence led to challenging the order.

She further said the joint venture was invalidated by the High Court and it left Katsimberis 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 magistrate also acquitted the City bosses of an alternative charge of criminal abuse of office allegations saying there was no evidence to prove the letters written by the council were irregular.

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

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 was not correct.

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