HIGH Court judges, Justices Charles Hungwe and Neville Wamambo have reinstated the trial of three Harare businessmen who had been acquitted on charges of swindling an investor of US$600 000 in a botched flower business deal.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Richard Musvaire, Peter Mujaya and Wellington Matsaire were acquitted of fraud allegations by Harare magistrate Sandra Mupindu in 2015.
But the complainant Mohammed Ibrahim Yakub, an investor, appealed the acquittal through the Prosecutor General’s Office in 2015 and the judgment was delivered in 2019.
The judges ordered the trial to continue after dismissing Mupindu’s decision to acquit the accused persons.
“There would have been an error of law committed by the court a quo either in its conclusion on question of facts or law or both law and fact. A court of law is expected to appreciate that an order for continuation of trial is not a direction to convict the accused persons, but to apply the rules and principles of law in the adjudication process judicially, fairly and properly,” the judgment read.
“The appeal be and is hereby allowed, the verdict of not guilty be and is, hereby, set aside and the matter is hereby remitted to the court of the magistrate for continuation of trial with the appellants being put on their defence.”
Allegations are that in August 2011, Musvaire, Mujaya and Matsaire misrepresented to Yakub that a flower-growing business by Luxador Roses, a subsidiary of Tobacco Sales Limited Company at Farm Lot 1 Manyewe Estate, belonged to them.
It is alleged Musvaire, Mujaya and Matsaire had knowledge that the farm in question belonged to the State and was acquired for resettlement purposes in 2002 and any business activity being conducted there would be stopped at any given time to allow for apportionment of the land to new settlers by the State.
The State alleges the misrepresentation led to Yakub paying them US$600 000 for the lease of the farm and purchase of the flower business. Michael Reza appeared for the State.