Property Developer Accused of Forging Court Record

George Katsimberis faces fraud charges over a showroom demolition in Harare

by Victor Adetimilehin

A property developer in Zimbabwe is facing fraud charges for allegedly forging a court record and submitting it as evidence in his trial.

George Katsimberis, who was involved in a joint venture project with another developer, is accused of building a showroom in Borrowdale, Harare, without an approved plan. The showroom was later demolished by the local authority.

Katsimberis claims he is receiving an unfair trial and wants the matter referred to the Constitutional Court. He says they violated some of his rights and omitted some information from the official court transcript.

However, the state has challenged his application and accused him of creating a fake document to scandalize the court.


Forged Document

Deputy Prosecutor-General Michael Reza told the court today that Katsimberis submitted forged documents claiming they contained the missing information.

Reza asked Katsimberis why the document did not have the signatures of the magistrate and the court transcriber to authenticate it.

When Katsimberis failed to explain the anomaly, Reza accused him of submitting a forged document to scandalize the court.

“You created this document. There is nothing official in this document. You forged and submitted it in court because you want to scandalize the court,” Reza said.

He added: “I put it to you that you have no infringed rights. They have done this trial above board, followed rules and nothing can go to the ConCourt.


Language Barrier

Katsimberis once pleaded with the court for a Greek interpreter, saying he did not know English well, but the court dismissed the application for lack of merit.

During cross-examination, Katsimberis told the court that he attended two local educational institutions and a South African university whose mode of communication is English.

Reza questioned his credibility and suggested that he was trying to delay the trial by raising frivolous issues. The court postponed the matter to Monday for the trial to continue.

Katsimberis’ lawyer Tino Chinyoka said he was confident that his client would get a fair hearing and justice would prevail.

He said he had filed exhibit number 27, which pointed to the alleged missing part, in good faith and had no intention of misleading the court.

In addition, he said he hoped the court would consider his client’s application for referral to the ConCourt and grant him the relief he sought.

The case has attracted public interest as it exposes the challenges faced by property developers in Zimbabwe, who often have to deal with bureaucratic hurdles, corruption, and land disputes.

Source: Newsday Zimbabwe

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