Businessman renews push to recover missing court records

Katsimberis will be in court from Monday to Friday after magistrate Wongai Guwuriro Muchuchuti refused to halt the proceedings to allow reconstruction of the disputed transcript.

Harare businessman George Katsimberis will this week renew his push to retrieve court records of his fraud triial, which he says have gone missing under unclear circumstances.

Katsimberis wants the case where he is accused of forging a plan for a house he built on behalf of Pokugara Properties in Harare’s Borrowdale area referred to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) as he claims that his rights have been violated in the long running trial.

 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.

He wants to use records from the lower court in the ConCourt application.

Last month, Katsimberis accused court officials of doctoring the transcripts to prejudice his application. 

He claimed that some dates were missing from the transcripts while others were doctored, including questions to him by his lawyer Tino Chinyoka during cross-examination.

His legal team disclosed that they were told that some recordings of court process could not be found.

They wanted the clerk of court to be summoned to explain  the anomaly.

Katsimberis will be in court from Monday to Friday after magistrate Wongai Guwuriro Muchuchuti refused to halt the proceedings to allow reconstruction of the disputed transcript.

Chinyoka had made an application for a complete record of the court proceedings.

He told Muchuchuti that the court supplied Katsimberis with three different versions of the transcript of prior proceedings, which all lacked critical information needed for his ConCourt application.

The application was made after several demands to obtain the correct transcript.

But Muchuchuti ruled: “The court indeed has made a ruling that the transcript be availed and is now functus. 

“However, the only displeasure which this court will express is that the moment the recorder failed to avail the transcript saying they cannot completely locate them then a request for the construction process should have been initiated than for defence to wait for the trial continuation date and then raise such issues with the court.”

After the ruling, the clerk of court invited  one of Katsimberis’ lawyers, Millicent Moyo, for a discussion on matters pertaining to the transcript. 

On November 2, his lawyers Mutumbwa Mugabe & Partners  wrote to  the clerk of court expressing shock at the invitation to the reconstruction process when the magistrate had already ruled against the process.

“We write in response to your telephone call to our Miss Millicent Moyo inviting the parties involved in the above trial to a discussion of certain matters pertaining to the transcript raised on behalf of the accused,” the lawyers wrote.

“The record of recent proceedings will show that the defence counsel has been waiting for the magistrate’s ruling dismissing the defence’s application for the record/transcript to be reconstituted.

“You will, therefore, appreciate that the learned magistrate has already made a determination on the reconstruction of the transcript.”

 “Accordingly, it appears to us that the learned magistrate is now functus oficio on that issue.”

Katsimberis wants the matter referred to the ConCourt after several attempts to have prosecutor Michael Reza and Muchuchuti removed from the case because of their alleged bias.


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