The Chinese couple accused of seizing a local garden furniture company risks being deported if regional magistrate Never Katiyo finds the pair guilty of the theft of shares worth $500 000.
A year-long trial of the couple, Yan Yu and Zhaosheng Wu, charged alongside Dawid Johannes Erasmus finally ended on Tuesday and judgment was set for March 16.
Yan told the magistrate during cross-examination he never knew Erasmus although he was appointed by him as one of Monomotapa Garden Furniture directors.
Previously his wife also denied knowledge of Erasmus, who was also the company secretary and was tasked to handle the transaction of the sale of the company between the couple and the company owner, Athur Fernando Pieria Dias, while the latter was away in South Africa.
The court heard sometime in 2005, Dias left unsigned share certificates with Erasmus and instructed him to sell his company to the couple after which Dias would sign the share certificates upon receiving full payment.
The initial agreed purchase price for the company was $400 000, but this was later reduced to $200 000 following several meetings between Dias and the prospective buyers.
The court heard after Dias was said to have failed to get his money, he then cancelled the sale agreement and issued the couple with an eviction order as they had started operating the company.
When Dias requested for his company documents back from Erasmus, he reportedly discovered Erasmus had allegedly signed the blank share certificate and appointed himself together with the Chinese couple as directors.
On the companys incorporation form, one suspected pseudonym Frank Wu Wila Yu representing two people was used as the new director of Monomotapa Garden Furniture. Dias then reported the matter to the police, leading to the accuseds arrest.
When the trial started, the trio made an application before magistrate Katiyo, arguing the matter was not criminal but civil, but the request was dismissed.
They again applied to the Supreme Court citing infringement of their rights and the court ruled the matter was criminal and referred it back to the magistrates court.
On Tuesday the couple brought in a defence witness, a South African handwriting expert, Lourika Buckley, to testify. She told the court she examined the signatures purportedly signed by Dias and concluded they matched.
But prosecutor Editor Mavuto disputed her evidence, arguing the characters on the alleged signatures were different and forged.