Court tosses Katsimberis’ suit against Prosecutor General, magistrates

HARARE – Embattled Property developer George Katsimberis has suffered another blow after the High Court dismissed a lawsuit he filed against Prosecutor General Nelson Mutsonziwa, justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and four magistrates he accused of biased judgements against him.

The four magistrates are Barbra Mateko, Noel Mupeiwa, Stanford Mambanje and Letwin Rodzi.

In his suit, Katsimberis said it was illogical that he was appearing before the four magistrates as a witness in a criminal case against land developer Kenneth Sharpe’s Pokugara Properties while he also appeared before the same magistrates as a suspect under the same circumstances Pokugara Properties was being charged under.

He argued this violated his constitutional rights.

“The general rule is that a superior court should intervene in uncompleted proceedings of the lower court only in exceptional circumstances of proven gross irregularity vitiated the proceedings and giving rise to a miscarriage of  justice which cannot be redressed by any other means or where the interlocutory decision is clearly wrong as to seriously prejudice the rights of the litigant,” he argued.

But in his ruling, High Court Judge Siyabona Musithu trashed the application, telling the businessman he had failed to explain his exact grievances.

The judge said the upper court could only intervene in cases of unterminated proceedings by a lower court where grave injustice would materialise if there was no immediate intervention.

“The trial has already commenced and underway,” said Justice Musithu.

“The applicant (Katsimberis) does not aver that in the conduct of his defence, he indeed attempted to assert his right to remain silent but was impeded by the fact that he had made a separate statement as a witness.”

Justice Musithu said it was not his court’s duty to interfere with the work of the Prosecutor General or enlighten the magistrates and the PG how they should complement each other in their respective duties.

“I consider the matter to be within the realm of public interest litigation, thus not warranting an adverse order of costs.

“Resultantly, it is order that the application be and is hereby dismissed,” he ruled.

Katsimberis wanted a permanent stay of his criminal trial.

Pokugara Properties was cleared of wrongdoing by the magistrates for lack of evidence.

Katsimberis complained that he was the first to report and should have been served first.

In response, the respondents successfully explained that for unknown reasons, police processed his report first despite that he had filed two months after Pokugara Properties.

Katsimberis got into trouble after it was established he misrepresented that his building plans were approved by the local authority yet in fact there was never such a thing.

He had entered into a business deal with Pokugara Properties and the discovery resulted in the parties’ fall-out.

Harare City Council officials produced documents stating that the plans were never approved.

This resulted in the structure being demolished prompting the businessman to sue Pokugara Properties for malicious damage to property and him being charged with fraud.

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