Businessman dismisses fraud allegations over housing plan

Katsimberis wants his fraud case to be referred to the Constitutional Court as he claims that his rights have been violated in the long running trial.

Harare businessman George Kastimberis has told the magistrates court that he is being charged with forging a housing plan that he never submitted to the city council for approval.

Katsimberis wants his fraud case to be referred to the Constitutional Court as he claims that his rights have been violated in the long running trial.

He is accused of forging a housing plan that he built on behalf of Pokugara Properties in Borrowdale.

Pokugara is owned by businessman Ken Sharpe, which destroyed the show house without court order after claiming that it was built using an unapproved plan.

The ongoing application for referral to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) by Georgios Katsimberis has exposed how Ken Sharpe’s Pokugara Properties lied before the court in a desperate bid to victimise the land developer.

Katsimberis has been in court facing charges of building a house in Borrowdale without a housing plan. 

He has made several attempts to have magistrate Vongai Guwuriro Muchuchuti and prosecutor Michael Reza, whom he accuses of siding with Sharpe, to rescuse themselves from the case.

According to his charge sheet, Katsimberis built a house on stand number 9 instead of number 10.

He is also accused of failing to get the housing plan for the house from the Mt Pleasant district offices.

In  his application for referral to the ConCourt last week, Katsimberis disclosed that he actually built the house on stand number 9, not 10 as alleged by Pokugara.

He told the court that it was actually Sharpe’s company that drew and submitted the housing plan, MP.6813/17 for the Borrowdale house to the Harare City Council.

The housing developer said Pokugara did the plan MP.6813/17 for themselves and if it was not approved it was not his fault. 

Katsimberis said he did the plans WX.609, WX.610 and WX.606, all from Cleveland, not Mt Pleasant as alleged in the charge sheet.

Plan WX609 was for stand No 9 where the house he built was destroyed by Pokugara Properties.

Katsimberis has previously taken Pokugara and Harare City Council to court accusing them of perjury for allegedly lying in court over the stand on which the house was built and that the housing plan for the house was not approved. 

The case was prosecuted by Zivanai Macharaga from the Special Anti-Corruption Unit.

Pokugara and the Harare City Council officials were acquitted after the state closed the case without calling all the witnesses.

No inspection in loco for the stand was also made.

Katsimberis is now asking the court for registers at Cleveland and Mt Pleasant that will show that he is not the one who submitted the plan for the Borrowdale house.

The application for the housing plan was actually done by for former Pokugara director Michael Van Blerk, according to documents.

“During Mr Van Blerk's testimony, I showed Mr Michael Van Blerk a plan and asked Mr Van Blerk if that was the plan of MP.6813/17.

“Mr Van Blerk confirmed that yes this was the exact plan he was shown in my office,” Katsimberis said.

“As of to date, I am being charged for a plan, I don't know which plan I have been charged for.”

According to a statement issued on September 14, 2021, Van Blerk said he visited Katsimberis’s office in Borrowdale accompanied by Sharpe where he was shown an approved housing plan, MP6813/37.

Sharpe, Van Blerk claimed, took a photograph of the plan that was dated February 23, 2017, and March 1, as well. 

However, court records show that it was Pokugara, not Katsimberis, who paid for the housing plan MP6813/37. 

The application was made by Van Blerk.

In one of the letters dated June 5,  2018 to Harare City Council, Pokugara requested “certification of the enclosed architectural floor plans submitted and approved by the City of Harare under plan reference number MP.6813/17 through Mount Pleasant district office as per the attached application form.” 

But after attaching the plan in theJune 5 letter, four months later in an affidavit by Van Blerk dated October 2 Pokugara told the court that the plans were not approved.

 “Based on this letter they know that their plan is approved. They have even enclosed four plans, see copies,” Katsimberis said.

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