THE trial of MDC-T spokesperson and lawyer Douglas Mwonzora on a fraud charge involving misappropriation of trust funds failed to kick off yesterday after Harare magistrate Fadzai Mtombeni noted that the State papers were not in order.
REPORT BY SENIOR REPORTER
Mthombeni postponed the matter to January 16 next year.
“The State should have a clear position on the charge. The State papers are not in order,” she ruled.
Earlier, Mwonzora’s lawyer Eric Matinenga had raised concern that the charge sheet presented in court indicated two charges whereas his client was only aware of one charge.
“It’s unnecessary to split the charges. This should be clear,” Matinenga said.
Mwonzora, who was brought to court on summons, allegedly misappropriated money his client had won in a lawsuit after a botched car deal. The State claims that the former legislator used ZW$300 000 which his client Lameck Kunjaku obtained after he sued one R Masuku, who had sold him a stolen Mazda 626 vehicle in 1999.
Prosecutor Daniel Muchimbiri alleged that sometime in 1999, Kunjaku bought a Mazda 626 from one Masuku.
In 2001, it is alleged that the car was recovered by police detectives in Bulawayo and indications were that it had been stolen.
He told the court that Kunjaku then engaged Mwonzora to represent him in his lawsuit against Masuku.
In 2003, the court ruled in Kunjaku’s favour and ordered Masuku to reimburse the ZW$300 000 paid to him for the purchase of the vehicle.
Further allegations are that Masuku’s relative Dumisani Mpofu paid the ZW$300 000 which Mwonzora told Kunjaku was deposited into a bank account. The court also heard that the money took long to be paid until in 2006, when they had a misunderstanding over what should be paid.
The complainant allegedly filed a police report and efforts to get the judgment from the High Court of Bulawayo were fruitless since they said the files had been sent to their archives.
The court was told Mwonzora converted the money to his own use and the complainant suffered actual prejudice of ZW$300 000.