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Pokugara Property, ex-director acquitted of perjury

Court hammer

POKUGARA Property  and its former managing director Michael Van Blerk ,who were accused of perjury, have been acquitted by the courts at the close of the State case.

 Van Blerk and Pokugara Property represented by Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara were being accused of falsifying contents of an affidavit submitted at the High Court which resulted in the destruction of a showroom built in Borrowdale, Harare, without an approved council plan.

 Magistrate Ngoni Nduna acquitted Van Blerk and the company after the complainant and the State failed to prove a case against the two.

The State had led evidence from former business partner George Katsimberis, Harare City Council’s former chief planning inspector Roy Nyabvure and Allan Matambo, record keeper at the City of Harare.

 Nduna ruled that Van Blerk and Pokugara were entitled to be discharged if there is no possibility of a conviction.

"Accused bears no onus to negative his innocence and the State must establish a prima facie case," Nduna ruled.

Nduna said Nyabvure was of no assistance to the State saying the issue was whether or not Pokugara and its former managing director 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.

 He said Matambo's evidence showed March 1, 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 Property of using the said affidavit as a scapegoat to demolish the showhouse he built in an agreement to build cluster houses in Borrowdale.

 Katsimberis was also arrested for using the unapproved plan and was charged with fraud, a matter which is still pending before the courts.

 Nyabvure who had admitted approving the plan was also arrested for criminal abuse of office after he singlehandedly approved the plan without circulating it to various departmental heads as per council procedures.


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