A COURT case in which German investor Dietrich Herzog was alleging that he was kidnapped and assaulted in Harare at the upmarket home of Omani businessman Thamer al Shanfari in December is falling apart after the complainant wrote to the Prosecutor-General’s Office advising him he would not be able to attend the trial.
Provincial Magistrate Elijah Makomo has since granted Shanfari’s brother-in-law Ashraf Raslan and Phillip Mapfiro, who are accused of kidnapping and assaulting Herzog, refusal of further remand.
According to Raslan and Mapfiro’s lawyer Jonathan Samkange of Venturas & Samkange Legal Practitioners, an application of refusal of further remand was made on March 5 because Herzog had refused to come back to Zimbabwe for the trial claiming that he would be victimised because he was homosexual.
“He also said that he was influenced to make this false report and he cannot come and lie,” Samkange said.
“The guy (Herzog) is not coming. He wrote to the Prosecutor-General’s Office saying he is not coming.
He added: “We went to court on three occasions for trial but the witnesses were not there and when we lodged the application for refusal of further remand the magistrate said there was no basis to keep them on remand and the application was granted.”
Samkange believes that this case was a continuation of the battle between Shanfari, the mega-rich former chairman of Cayman Islands mining company Oryx Natural Resources (ONR), and fellow Omani business tycoon Kamal Khalfan, an honorary Oman Sultanate consul and Catercraft Ltd owner.
Shanfari, who has various business interests in Zimbabwe including mining, was initially implicated in the kidnapping case but according to Samkange, he was never charged with the crime.
“The allegations that Shanfari is on the run is malicious. If they wanted to arrest him they would have put him on the list of the accused and would have used that fact to refuse the two accused bail,” he said.
“In Zimbabwe, Thamer is not facing any criminal charges and there are no prospects of him ever being charged. The police never said they were looking for him and no one came to me after I wrote to them asking them to let me know if they wanted to charge him.”
According to the state outline, on December 7 at house number 57 Folio Crescent, Glen Lorne, Mapfiro and Raslan unlawfully deprived Herzog of his “freedom of bodily movement that is to say, manhandled, forced him into the toilet and detained” him.
It further states that Mapfiro and Raslan stole US$2 000 and a Phone from Herzog.
In its case outline, the state said this happened after the two business partners, Herzog and Shanfari, had had a disagreement at 1500 hours over Takunda Mining Pvt (Ltd). Meanwhile, Shanfari has applied for a rescission of a judgement by High Court Judge, Justice Joseph Mafusire on a US$10 million lawsuit against Khalfan.
Shanfari is suing Khalfan for allegedly defaming him in private conversations with unnamed top Zanu PF officials during which he allegedly called him a crook, corrupt, bad debtor and unprofessional.
Justice Mafusire In December ordered Shanfari to pay Khalfan’s legal fees at the highest lawyer-client scale.
In a founding affidavit to the High Court, Shanfari blamed his lawyers Stephen Chibune of Chibune & Associates, who represented him in that case, of failing to turn up at court on that day.
“I immediately instructed him to have the file transferred to Mr Samkange as I was extremely unhappy with Mr Chibune’s conduct,” he wrote.
“In fact, I wanted to report him to the Law Society save for the fact that I am aware that he has been very unwell and that is the only reason why I did not report him to the Law Society.
“His conduct is totally unprofessional and unethical.”