By Anyway Yotamu
The land dispute between Ukraine based Harare businessman, Kenneth Raydone Sharpe and his former business partner George Katsimberis opened a can of worms by exposing the City of Harare’s housing department and Pokugara Propeties’ corrupt tendencies.
This comes at a time when the government is weeding out land barons across the country. Businessman Ken Raydone Sharpe is the latest on the list together with his company associates.
According to the Court documents seen by Spiked Online Media, prominent Harare lawyer Mr. Tendai Biti, who is representing Katsimberis said Ken Sharpe together with Pokugara representatives, Michael Van Blerk and Simbarashe Kadye are nothing short of land barons or land mafia who entered into a joint venture agreement with Katsimberis for the development of stands for sale. He also said that Sharpe is only relying on information he receives from his puppets as he is the Principal.
“The Complainants consist of one Kenneth Raydone Sharpe who is not here and is one of the witnesses but he is the Principal. The rest are puppets.
“For the agreement of construction, so one was to provide land, the land baron was to provide land and the accused person was to provide financing of this estate called Pokugara. So the land baron was called. Ken Raydone Sharpe was to provide the land and the accused person was to provide the finances,” he said.
This was revealed during the cross-examination of a fraud case. The state, led by Prosecutor Ephraim Zinyandu alleges that during the period between 15 June 2016 and 26 July 2018 and at Pokugara Properties (Pvt) LTD in Borrowdale, Harare furnished Kadye with unapproved building plans. Moreover, Katsimberis reportedly also used the unapproved plans for building a show house with substandard material, contrary to the bylaws of the City of Harare.
Katsimberis, represented by Mr. Tendai Biti drew the state’s attention to certain letters written to the suspended City of Harare Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango by Chinawa and Associates dated 28th of June 2019. Mr. Biti emphasized that in the letter, Chinawa and Associates were complaining to the City of Harare about a letter written to them on the 26th of June (2 days before their letter) which revealed the City of Harare’s knowledge of Katsimberis’ building plans which they now deny knowledge of.
“Chinawa and Associates are complaining to the City of Harare to say the letter you have written to us on the 26th of June 2018 is confirming that the accused person George Katsimberis actually had the plans. Why are you saying this now? This is the letter from Chinawa and Associates. They are complaining to the City of Harare as to why they are saying there was no plan as you know there is so much litigation. Why are you not sticking to your original story?”.
Further, for background purposes, Mr. Biti articulated that sometime in 2018 under case HC 8943/18, in the High Court of Zimbabwe, Katsimberis filed an interdict to stop Pokugara Properties (Pvt) LTD representatives (as Complainants) and the City of Harare from demolishing the show house in question. He alleges that the opposing papers filed by the City of Harare by then Town Clerk Eng Hosiah Chisango, who also swore under oath that there were never any plans. This is the essence of the charges that Katsimberis is facing,” added Biti.
“Now, My Lady, the letter from Chinawa and Associates is here now. They are now saying to the City of Harare, ‘You are saying there are plans but in your affidavit in the Case number HC201631 the one I have just given you, you say there were no plans. So the letter My Lady of the 26th of June form the City of Harare to Chinawa Law Chambers becomes critical for the purposes of the accused’s defence. The letter from the City of Harare to Chinawa and Associates which is being responded to by Chinawa and Associates in their letter of 28th which I will present before the court becomes critical because it contains evidence that is favourable to the accused person. It confirms the accused’s defence that there was a lie”.
Meanwhile, the trial is pending with three letters written from Chinawa Law Chambers dated, 31st of May 2019, 12th of June 2019, and 14th of June 2019 respectively.
The Deed of Settlement is referred to in paragraph 5 of the letter from Chinawa Law Chambers dated 28th of June 2019. The letter from the City of Harare to Chinawa Law Chambers is dated 26th of June 2019 and the letter from the City of Harare dated 26th of June 2019.
“My Lady, let me just speak briefly on the Deed of Settlement. According to the letter from Chinawa Law Chambers which I do have, I saw all these things happening. I got there. Shenanigans have been happening behind so the deed of Settlement apparently my Lady is so material in this case. It relates to how the land in question where this house was built, where the joint venture agreement was acquired by the complainants. I say this My Lady by way of background but when we do go to trial it is going to be so material,” said Biti.