Crime & Courts

Businessman guns for ‘biased’ prosecutor Michael Reza

By Anyway Yotamu

Harare businessman Georgios Katsimberis is seeking to have ‘biased’ State Prosecutor Michael Reza recused from handling his cases saying he has vested interests in all cases where the complainant is controversial land baron Ken Sharpe’s aide Tatiana Aleshina and her associates.

Through his lawyer, Advocate Tinmudaishe Chinyoka, Katsimberis who is embroiled in a long running legal battle with his former business partner Sharpe, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) allocates all cases where Aleshina is the complainant to Reza.

In his submissions, Chinyoka said Reza should be recused from handling Katsimberis’ case because of his vested interests as shown by his handling of all cases by Aleshina.

“When I was going through this, I thought there seems to be a pattern in the NPA whereby if the complainant is someone called Tatiana Aleshina or Pokugara Properties the Prosecutor is always my learned friend and in one of the cases where they were accused persons my learned friend took over from another Prosecutor for use of withdrawing charges against these people.

“The law requires that I make an application for my learned friend to recuse himself or be recused from this case,” said Chinyoka.

Chinyoka also accused Reza of facilitating for the arrest of a state witness in a case involving Aleshina and Sharpe’s Pokugara Properties, Roy Nyabvure while he was still testifying in cases that are still pending before the courts.

“An event happened in between the last time we were here which required that I make a different application, this event is that my brother the prosecutor (Reza) facilitated the arrest of one of the witnesses we intend on calling in this case.

“He is also a witness in the other three cases with the same facts. My learned friend on the 14th of October 2022, wrote a letter to the police which letter caused the police to arrest this witness.

“In fact this letter was saying he is no longer a witness, because what happened is, the police called him to talk about this case so his lawyers wrote to the police saying he is still testifying so do you mean to interfere with the witness.

“The police then wrote to NPA to check if this was correct and my learned friend wrote to Police to say it’s not true he has finished testifying but the truth is that he has only done one case and there are three remaining, in fact he was arrested here at court,” said Chinyoka.

Nyabvure was arrested in November at the Harare Magistrates Court after testifying in a perjury case involving Pokugara Properties, its employees and City of Harare officials

In the letter dated 14 October 2022 in which Reza stamped and copied himself, the Acting Deputy Prosecutor, the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) and the Police Anti-Corruption Unit ( PACU), Reza said Nyabvure had led evidence and excused by the court.

“Please be advised that Mr. Nyabvure was a State witness in the Perjury trial against Michael Van Blerk and Pokugara Properties (Pvt) Ltd. He has led his evidence in Chief, was cross examined and re–examined. He was thereafter excused by the court as his witness duties were completed.

“If he is a witness in any other case and If I may be favoured with the CRB, I will be able to check and verify for you,” wrote Reza

Nyabvure has since been charged with criminal abuse of office and was denied bail by Harare Magistrate Taurai Manuwere after the State said he was a flight risk.

An investigating officer testifying during the bail application at the Harare Magistrates court said they arrested Nyabvure following a tip off from a staffer at one of Kenneth Sharpe’s company.

Nyabvure a veteran of the armed struggle and suffers from diabetes and hypertension would spend time in remand while his lawyers made frantic efforts to apply for bail at the High Court amid drama that there were no written reasons for the judgment.

The sixty four year old war veteran would spend most of his time admitted at a local hospital and was eventually granted bail by a High Court Judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda who questions Police’s involvement in a way which would have a bearing on the perjury and malicious damage to property case.

Justice Kwenda said it was wrong and uncalled for and raised suspicions on the drama that unfolded during the proceedings saying NPA and Police should stay away from pending Court process.

Aleshina a Ukrainian national, ‘a fraudster’ and a name dropper is also a complainant in a case where she accuses top lawyer and Citizens Coalition for Change legislator Tendai Biti of assaulting her after a verbal altercation outside the Harare Magistrates Court in November 2020.

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