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We're not immune to prosecution: Land developer

Local News
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi

A RUSSIAN investor, Tatiana Aleshina has hit back at a local businessman George Katsimberis accusing him of peddling falsehoods in his response to a High Court application.

Aleshina, the chief operations officer for Pokugara Properties, was responding to an application by Katsimberis, in which he is seeking invalidation of a deed of settlement which was affirmed by the Supreme Court in one of their disputes.

The resolution of the deed was to withdraw existing proceedings between parties to the deed including Augur Investments owned by top businessman Kenneth Raydon Sharpe, Local Government minister July Moyo and the City of Harare.

Katsimberis sued the Prosecutor-General (PG) complaining that his rivals were getting favours from the prosecution.

He had also cited Moyo, Augur Investments, Aleshina, Pokugara Properties, City of Harare, magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Attorney-General Prince Machaya as respondents.

But Aleshina accused Katsimberis of being economical with the truth forgetting that the respondents were criminally charged at his instance, but acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Responding to Katsimberis lawsuit, Aleshina said it would be incompetent to impugn a Supreme Court order.

“The application is also founded upon material non-disclosures and misrepresentation of facts. The applicant (Katsimberis) said the PG has failed to act on complaints he made against Pokugara and its officials as well as the City of Harare.

“This in fact is not true. What Katsimberis conveniently fails to disclose is that both matters have in fact, been brought to trial which trials have since commenced and are pending at the magistrates court, the first being under case number CRB-ACC 45/21 for malicious damage to property and the second being CRB-ACC 241-242/21 for perjury.”

Aleshina said the non-disclosure was clearly in bad faith and misleading to the court as it was clear that Pokugara was not immune to prosecution.

She submitted that she has mentioned several times that Katsimbiris did not have any direct interest in the matter nor was he a participant in any of the agreements which leaves doubt as to his real motivation for pursuing such an application.

“The court is invited to express its displeasure through a punitive order as to costs against such deplorable conduct and abuse of its process by the applicant.

“It is not correct that the deed of settlement creates any immunity from prosecution as suggested by Katsimberis. Nothing in the language of the deed suggests that any of the parties to it were immune to prosecution either in respect of any subsequent matter apart from those settled and withdrawn or any other unrelated matter by any third party,” Aleshina said.

“It is incorrect and a misconception of the deed of settlement to allege as does Katsimberis that there was a delegation of power to exercise any functions which the PG has in terms of the law to the minister.”

She added that nowhere does the deed say it grants immunity from criminal prosecution to persons named therein as well as their present and future associates.

She said the deed was clear that parties to it who include Moyo had taken both civil and criminal remedies against each other which they, in terms of the deed, resolved to settle and withdraw which they are perfectly entitled to do.

Aleshina said that in itself was not a usurpation of the discretion reposed in the PG to stop public prosecutions.

“There is, therefore, no interference whatsoever with the function of the PG who remains independent in the discharge of such functions,” she said.

She also mentioned that it is actually Katsimberis, who committed fraud by producing building plans that had not been approved by the City Of Harare.

“It is correct that applicant is being prosecuted for a criminal charge of fraud emanating from a joint venture agreement he entered with the 5th respondent and Sharpe where he undertook to obtain approved building plans from the 6th respondent to construct a show house at a development on stand 19559 belonging to the 5th Respondent.  He misrepresented to the 5th respondent that a plan for a brick and mortar house was drawn up, lawfully submitted and approved by the 5th respondent’s Mt Pleasant district offices under MP 6813/17 and on that basis carried out construction of the show house,” they submitted.

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