Police on Tuesday arrested a key witness in another dramatic twist to a case where Harare businessman Ken Sharpe is accused of perjury and malicious injury to property.
The witness, Roy Nyabvure who is Harare City Council’s regional building instructor, was arrested at the Harare magistrates’ court after the case was postponed to November 28 because Sharpe’s lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara had another case at the High Court.
During a brief hearing before the dramatic scenes, magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka had spoken strongly about unending delays in the hearing of the case.
Chakanyuka said the accused had many too many applications for the case to be postponed and stressed that the hearing should proceed without fail on November 28.
“On the 28th of November, the matter should proceed without fail,” the magistrate said.
Nyabvure told Chakanyuka that he was being threatened by the police.
“I have a problem of being misdirected (and) of being interfered with by the police,” he said. “I am being threatened and undermined.”
As the court adjourned, two police officers that had been waiting outside pounced on Nyabvure.
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This sparked heated debate between prosecutors Zivanai Macharaga, who told the cops that they were violating the law by interfering with a witness.
The standoff lasted over 20 minutes.
The police officers did not produce any arrest warrant before whisking Nyabvure away as they said they were working under pressure.
Nyabvure is a state witness in the case where Harare property developer Georgious Katsimberis is suing Sharpe, his aide Michael John Van Blerk Van Beek and top Harare City Council officials for perjury and malicious damage to property.
The case arose after the local authority demolished Kastimberis’ show house in Borrowdale, Harare.
Sharpe and his company, Pokugara properties, council officials Mandla Ndebele, Isaiah Zvenyika Chawatama, Samuel Nyabezi and Lasten Taonezvi are accused of malicious damage to property after they destroyed Katsimberis’ house.
Sharpe is said to have caused the destruction of the show house after alleging that Katsimberis had constructed it using a fake plan.
Nyabvure is also an accused in a case where Katsimberis is accused of constructing the house using a fake plan, an allegation the property developer denies.
Katsimberis reported the accused to the police on April 12, leading to their arrest and prosecution by the Special Ant-Corruption Unit.
He is the key witness in the case but was arrested on July 28 after Pokugara made a counter-police report that he built a show house on its behalf using fake plans.
Katsimebris’ lawyers say deputy prosecutor general Micheal Reza insiststhat Pokugara were the first to report the case despite evidence to the contrary.
Katsimberis has been appearing in court pursuing perjury and malicious damage to property cases against the group who are witnesses in his own case.
He recently approached the Constitutional Court challenging a September 2022 ruling by High Court judge Justice Siyabonga Paul Musithu dismissing his application to end his parallel prosecution.
Katsimberis argues the parallel prosecution relying on the same facts has resulted in the harassment of witnesses in order to weaken his case.
Last month, Nyabvure was summoned by the acting officer in charge of the police’s commercial crime unit identified as S. Musonza.
Nyabvure’s lawyers, Mutumbwa Mugabe and Partners, said police wanted to arrest the council employee at the instigation of Augur Investments official Tatiana Aleshina.
This was after one Assistant Inspector Evans Bota called Nyabvure between October 4 and 6, inviting him to the Harare Central Police Station to give a statement over “plans.”
Mutumbwa then told the police that their actions were “brazenly” interfering with a court case and called for a probe by the Special Anti-Corruption Unit and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
Nyabvure recently filed a complaint with ZACC claiming that Aleshina was interfering with his case.