HARARE – Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna has acquitted Pokugara Properties and its former managing director Michael Van Blerk after a key witness into their perjury case was discredited.
The property firm and its former boss were acquitted at the close of the state case after Nduna ruled prosecutors had insufficient evidence to convince his court to convict the accused.
The two were charged with falsifying contents of an affidavit submitted at the High Court which resulted in the destruction of a showroom built without an approved plan.
They applied for discharge at the close of State’s case.
Prosecutors had closed the case after leading evidence from complainant Georgie Katsimberis, Roy Nyabvure and Allan Matambo, record keeper at the City of Harare.
The magistrate ruled the witnesses were not credible.
“Accused bears no onus to negative his innocence and the state must establish a prima facie case,” said the magistrate.
Nduna said Nyabvure was of no assistance to the state saying the issue was whether or not the suspects acted on the advice of the officials from City of Harare.
“Evidence of Nyabvure is not admissible and is expunged from the record,” he said.
The magistrate said Matambo’s evidence showed the 1st of March 2017 as the approval date for the plan while on page 308, under cross examination, the witness could not confirm the submission of plans by Katsimberis.
“Affixation of date is probably fraudulent. State did not disapprove that the accused acted on advice of the City of Harare and above findings make the state weak,” Nduna ruled.
Katsimberis had accused Van Blerk and Pokugara properties of using the said affidavit as an excuse to demolish the show house he built in an agreement to construct cluster houses in Borrowdale.
Katsimberis was also arrested for using the unapproved plan and was charged with fraud, allegations that are pending before the courts.
Nyabvure, who had admitted approving the plan, was also arrested for criminal abuse of office after he single-handedly approved the plan without circulating it to various departments.