Seventh Lawyer Ditches Property Developer Katsimberis

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By staff reporter

THE trial of controversial property developer George Katsimberis, who is accused of fraud, was postponed once again after he was ditched by his lawyer for the seventh time.

Katsimberis is accused of building a show house without approved plan from the City of Harare after he entered into an agreement worth US$1 million.

The case has been delayed for a long time after six lawyers abandoned the case midway.

Katsimberis once represented by CCC vice president Tendai Biti who abandoned the matter after his application for discharge were dismissed by Harare magistrate Letween Rwodzi.

Biti had tried to stop the trial but prosecutor Michael Reza argued it was an attempt to abuse the court of law before he threw in the towel and abandoned his client.

Katsimberis again acquired the services of Charles Warara who tried to employ the tactics used by Biti to delay the trial but again failed after Reza successfully argued against it.

After Warara, Katsimberis hired Lewis Uriri and Shingi Mutumbwa of Mutumbwa and Mugabe legal practitioners.

Aggrieved by the dismissal of the court applications Warara filed an application for the recusal of Reza but Rwodzi dismissed the application.

They filed for an application for review at the High Court and it was also dismissed.

Warara asked the court to compel the State to furnish them with documents that included the agreement entered between City of Harare and Augur Investments and transcripts of High Court matters.

Reza opposed to the application saying the documents requested were not important to the matter as the documents which the state want to use were given to them.

Warara insisted that the documents were of important to their defence and said the matter will not proceed without those documents.

However, magistrate Rwodzi again dismissed the application and ordered the trial to proceed.

On resumption of the matter on Firday, the presiding magistrate Rwodzi had recused self and the matter was handed over to magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro.

Reza asked the court for the reading of the charges, but Warara objected saying the matter were not up for trial but an application for further particulars.

Warara argued the matter cannot not proceed unless they were provided by their requested documents, but Reza objected saying the defence are filing the request they already knew were dismissed by the previous magistrate.

Reza submitted that a magistrate cannot review the decision made by another magistrate.

However, Guwuriro asked the court to proceed with the matter but again Warara tried to stop the matter and filed an application for postponement saying his lawyer Uriri was occupied.

Magistrate Guwuriro however dismissed the application saying the matter has been stagnant for long time.

Warara then stepped down from representing Katsimberis saying he was no longer appearing for the accused.

Reza then ordered the reading of the charges for the commencement of trial, but Katsimberis refused to plead saying he will wait for the instructions from his lawyer.

At that juncture, the matter was postponed to 30 March for trial continuation.