Pokugara Properties MD Van Blerk Perjury Charge Embarrassing: Defence

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By James Muonwa

THE perjury charges levelled against Pokugara Properties managing director, Michael John Van Blerk, are contrived and calculated to embarrass him, the defence team has said.

The state, represented by prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the President’s Office, alleges that Van Blerk, in his personal capacity and representing Pokugara Properties (Private) Limited as its Managing Director, filed a false written statement in case HC 8948/18 and lied in a sworn affidavit that a shows a house constructed by land developer George Katsimberis, was built without approved building plans from the City of Harare.

Katsimberis vehemently denies the same saying that he is in possession of all documents to prove his assertions.

The show house in question was constructed by Katsimberis under a deal with Pokugara proprietor, Kenneth Raydon Sharpe, who is said to have controversially pulled out from the deal.

But in a defence outline seen by, the defence led by Tawanda Zhuwarara says accused person pleads not guilty and excepts to the charge as “the charge does not disclose any offence cognisable at law”.

“The allegations of perjury are calculated to embarass the accused person in that they are based on facts that the complainant admitted under cause HC8943/18. Each allegation the prosecution now claims to have been falsely averred was admitted by the complainant by non-contravention,” Zhuwarara said.

“Perjury cannot actuate from an affidavit whose averments were admitted by complainant as having been true in the proceedings wherein such affidavit lodged. The charge is, therefore, incompetent, and embarrassing. It must be quashed,” he said.

The defence further argued accused person did not lie that the show house was built without approved building plans from City of Harare (CoH) through a letter dated July 26, 2018.

“Furthermore, the fact that the show house was built without approved building plans was re-affirmed by CoH in paragraph (10.1) to (10.7) of an affidavit dated October 2, 2018 deposed to by the then town clerk Hosiah Abraham Chisango,” reads the defence outline.

The show house was then demolished at the instance and direction of CoH, who were acting in terms of Section 32, 34 and 35 of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12).

Van Blerk also denies that it was alleged that Katsimberis had built on Stand 10 instead of Stand 9.

“The allegations of perjury are unsustainable and designed to militate against the criminal proceedings the complainant is facing for unlawfully obtaining fake building permits in respect of the show house that was later destroyed for having been built on the 2nd accused person’s land,” the defence counsel further argued.

The matter is yet to go for trial following numerous false starts.