Developer Trial in False Start

The trial of land developer Georgios Katsimberis, accused of duping Pokugara Properties (Pvt) Limited of close to US$1 million in a joint venture to build cluster houses in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb, got off to a false start this week after he indicated that the State had not given him all the papers necessary to prepare his defence.

Katsimberis, who is being represented by Mr Tendai Biti, said the documents were critical for the trial.

The documents included correspondence between Pokugara Properties and City of Harare.

In his application for the additional documents, Mr Biti said the State was not willing to give them the papers because they would exonerate his client.

The State led by Mr Ephraim Zinyandu said the documents were not essential as they were not intended for use during trial.

“We have provided him with the necessary documents. We don’t have them with us,” said Mr Zinyandu.

Magistrate Mrs Esthere Chivasa, however, ordered the State to furnish Katsimberis with all the documents he required before the trial started.

She ordered the State to summon Katsimberis back to court once it had given him the documents he required.

Accusations levelled against Katsimberis arose from a joint venture agreement he entered with Pokugara Properties in 2016, to construct houses in Borrowdale through his company, GK Properties.

One of the material terms of the agreement was that six residential stands, each measuring 2 000 square metres, were to be consolidated for building cluster houses. It is said Katsimberis took two years to build one small 166 square-metre show house, using sub-standard materials.

The show house was not approved by the City of Harare while the stamps on the plan were allegedly fake.

Katsimberis is alleged to have failed to build the cluster houses according to the contract, leading to the cancellation of the deal on January 11, 2018.

Pokugara Properties reportedly launched an investigation, which revealed that there were no approved plans and they did not exist in their records, leading to the property firm taking the matter to police.

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