THE first black Law Society of Zimbabwe president, Simplisious Julius Chihambakwe, appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday on a charge of theft of trust property involving US$154 311.
Chihambakwe was granted free bail by regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa, who remanded him to November 22 pending trial.
The complainant is Tsungirirayi Banga Mandizvidza, who is represented by Allen Kadye, and is a beneficiary to the estate of her late parents Chrispen Purisa Mandizvidza and Auxillia Maema Mandizvidza.
According to court papers, Chihambakwe was appointed executor to the estate.
It is alleged that on March 20, 2014, the beneficiaries to the estate resolved to sell some properties to settle the fees due to the Master of the High Court to finalise the winding up of the deceased’s estate.
The State alleges that they resolved to sell two buildings and some equipment, and realised US$154 311,20 which information was passed on to the executor to comply according to the request.
The money was deposited into a trust account held by the accused.
Instead of paying the Master’s fees as requested, Chihambakwe allegedly diverted the money to offset outstanding legal fees, which had nothing to do with Master’s legal fees as per instructions from the beneficiaries.
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It is alleged that Mandizvidza went on to pay the Master’s fees using her own fees with a view to finalise the winding up of the estates of her late parents.
The State alleges that Chihambakwe prejudiced the supposed beneficiaries of US$154 311,20. Nothing was recovered.