EX-SHABANIE Mine Workers’ Association chairperson Hilton Phiri and an alleged accomplice Tonderai Nyevera appeared at the Gweru Magistrates’ Court yesterday facing six charges of contravening the Legal Practitioners Act after they allegedly masqueraded as lawyers for mine employees.
Allegations are that Phiri (42) and Nyevera (30), an office orderly at the Zvishavane Magistrates’ Court, claimed to be legal practitioners and represented six ex-Shabanie workers against eviction from the asbestos mine’s houses.
Phiri and Nyevera are denying the charges saying they never impersonated lawyers, but that Phiri acted on behalf of ex-workers as they were represented by Danziger Law Firm.
State witnesses said the co-accused persons collected money from them, but never pretended to be lawyers.
In his closing submissions, prosecutor Andrew Marimo said the two had no case to answer under the charge, but the matter was a civil case in which the ex-workers were evicted from the company’s houses after they had paid their money to the association.
Phiri and Nyevera’s defence counsel concurred with the State’s submissions and said there was no prima facie case against the co-accused.
Gweru magistrate Tendai Madanhire postponed ruling to this Friday. It was the State’s case that on March 20, Phiri and Nyevera connived in preparing documents which they presented to Chigariro and Phiri and Partners and Zvishavane Magistrates’ Court purporting to be legal practitioners.
The State further alleged that the two processed documents to stop eviction orders served to the former employees by Shabanie Mine management.