HARARE businessman Nathan Mnaba has been acquitted on charges of fraudulently acquiring a local firm, Norwich Trading Company, and registering it in his name without the owner, Nighert Parween Savania’s consent.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Bulawayo regional magistrate Trynos Utawashe, who presided over the matter, ruled that he had found Mnaba’s submission to be truthful, saying Savania had falsely claimed to own 50% shares in Norwich Trading Company.
It emerged during trial that the issue of 50% shares only came out after Mnaba had paid $250 000 for the firm.
Utawashe further ruled that Mnaba did not misrepresent by filing fake documents to the Registrar of Companies to facilitate the change of ownership, but the court found the documents authentic since they were bearing the names of the complainants.
He said the exhibits tendered before the court proved that Mnaba had informed the complainant of the meeting to change the ownership, but she decided not to attend.
“If the documents submitted by Mnaba were original, then the issue cannot be fraudulent, but is a subject of civil which is still pending at the High Court. It seems there is bad blood between the parties,” Utawashe ruled.
“The process of changing ownership was done properly and no fraudulent documents tendered to the Registrar of Companies.”
The magistrate further ruled that Savania could also not blame Mnaba for the disappearance of the said documents at the Registrar of Companies, saying all parties were to blame.
“The dispute between the two parties is civil and both parties cannot use this criminal court to settle their fights. I, hereby, dismiss the case and acquit the accused.”
The case was handled by more than three magistrates after both parties could not agree on the handling of the case and this prompted the Judicial Service Commission to appoint Utawashe from Bulawayo province to preside over the matter.
According to the State, on October 10, 2011, Savania entered into an agreement of sale of shares for Norwich Trading Company with Mnaba.
The total purchase price for the said shares was pegged at $380 000 for 100 shares and the terms of the agreement were that an initial sum of $250 000 was to be paid on January 6, 2012, while the balance of $130 000 would be paid on or before August 2012.
It was alleged Mnaba failed to pay the balance as agreed, prompting the complainant to engage her lawyers to resolve the issue.
Clement Chimbare appeared for the State.