Govt accused of concealing key documents in ongoing Katsimberis trial

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HARARE –  Property developer and Greek businessman George Katsimberis has accused the State of withholding documents that will exonerate him in a case where he is accused of fraudulently securing a building plan.

Katsimberis revealed this during his ongoing application for referral to the Conditional Court.

The property developer is accused by Ken Sharpe’s Pokugara Properties of building a showroom using forged plans.

The building was however demolished, but the property developer, who was being cross-examined by his lawyer Tino Chinyoka said there was no demolition order by the City of Harare.

He said he came to know of the documents that were being withheld by the State after they were referred to Deputy Prosecutor-General Michale Reza.

“The state refused to give the documents because they don’t want me to use them but these documents will exonerate me,” said Katsimberis.

“There is a stamp and security which shows the plans were approved therefore I cannot doubt the authenticity of the plans.”

Katsimberis argued that he did not miss any permit required for a plan to be approved.

“I would have known from the book and from the plans because I know the process to get plans approval.

“Because I have attached every single permit of several areas required by the City of Harare.

“There was no demolition order issued by the city of Harare because the council doesn’t issue any demolition order it’s for the Court,” said the businessman.

Katsimberis said the move by the State not to release the documents he requested shows that the prosecution did not have a demolition order.

“I was the person responsible for the project they should have notified me before they demolished. The demolition order if it was there, they should have told me or notified me.

“I need to know whether the plans were approved or not approved, that is why I had to request the plans.

According to Katsimberis, the initial plans for the structure were submitted to Cleveland House and the council has since testified that the stamps were authentic and the plans were approved.

Pokugara however approached Mount Pleasant offices instead of Cleveland House.

“I did not go to Mount Pleasant but they went to Mount Pleasant I went to Cleveland House. They actually have a letter which says they have an approved plan,” Katsimberis said.

According to Katsimberis’ testimony, the said plans for the demolished structure were issued in February 2017.

“The approval of the Housing plan is the last stage when applying at the City of Harare. The plans were submitted in February 2016 and approved but collected in February 2017.

“There were no outstanding plans or permits and other necessities,” he said.

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