Former Zimbabwe national soccer team fitness trainer and farmer Temba Peter Mliswa on Monday filed a written submission applying for acquittal in a case in which he allegedly seized farming equipment and cattle from a Karoi farmer six years ago.
Mliswa submitted his papers through his lawyer, Charles Chinyama, at the Harare Magistrates’ Court where he applied for freedom at the close of the state’s case after evidence by the investigating officer Samuel Masvokwenyi last week on Thursday.
It also emerged during the state’s case that the allegations against Mliswa were not reported as a criminal but the complainant, Peter van der Merwe and his wife Carol, wanted to use the police as debt collectors him.
Carol van der Merwe told the court during cross-examination by Chinyama she never reported the matter to the police, but was invited to give a statement at a luxurious hotel.
“I was called by the police to go to Holiday Inn in Bulawayo to give a statement,” Carol told the court.
However, when Masvokwenyi was asked by Chinyama whether it was procedural for statements to be recorded at a hotel as opposed to a police station, the officer said there was no standing rule as to where the police were allowed to record statements from witnesses.
Chinyama further asked Masvokwenyi if he would have accepted a report had both Peter and Carol van der Merwe told him there was no fraud that was committed by Mliswa, but that they both wanted the police to assist them to recover property from Mliswa which he was holding on to.
“I would not have done that but they lied to me, if that is what they said before the court, it gives two different views,” Masvokwenyi replied. Chinyama produced receipts indicating Mliswa bought some farming equipment from Merwe while he entered into an agreement for him to sell the other equipment on commission.
Chinyama said Mliswa and the complainant had a debtor-creditor relationship but van der Merwe wanted to use the police as debt collectors. Last week, the state called the evidence of the complainant van der Merwe and his wife who both testified that they had an agreement with Mliswa to sell their farming equipment on 10% commission signed six years ago which was still running to date.
Masvokweni on Thursday told the court during his investigations he was never shown any agreement entered into between Mliswa and van der Merwe.
During the lengthy cross-examination by Chinyama, Masvokwenyi said if he had been shown the said agreements and the receipts he would not have pursued the matter.
“Some of the said agreements and receipts were never given to me by the complainant and given the documents presented before this court there is no fraud,” Masvokwenyi said.
Prosecutor Bruce Tokwe closed the state case after evidence presented by Masvokwenyi and immediately Chinyama indicated to regional magistrate William Bhila that he intended to make an application of acquittal at the close of the state case.
It was therefore agreed that by end of day Monday Chinyama would have submitted his written submissions while the state would give its response by Thursday this week with Bhila is expected to deliver his ruling next Monday.