Harare property developer, Georgios Katsimberis reportedly duped his client by using a fraudulently certified building plan and substandard material which led to the demolition of the constructed building by the City of Harare.
On Tuesday this week, Katsimberis presented himself at the Harare Magistrates Court for trial in the company of his lawyer former Finance minister, Tendai Biti but the matter did not get into court and failed to start since he had not been supplied with the court papers.
Katsimberis was then supplied with the relevant documents by the prosecution to enable him to prepare for a new trial date being August 19, 2020.
According to court papers, the complainant in the matter is Pokugara Properties (Pvt) Ltd represented by its finance manager, Simbarashe Kadye.
It is the State’s case that on June 15, 2016 Pokugara Properties (Pvt) Ltd, through Kadye, entered into a joint venture agreement with Katsimberis for the construction of homes at stand number 19559, in Borrowdale, Harare.
Further allegations are that Katsimberis then produced fake stamped architectural plans to Pokugara Properties purporting that the said architectural plans had been approved by the City of Harare and also that he (Katsimberis) had been given the green light to commence construction at the site.
However, Pokugara Properties (Pvt) Ltd’s representative is said to have initially taken it in good faith that the stamped plans presented to him by Katsimberis were genuine. Apparently Katsimberis failed to perform according to the contract leading to the cancellation of the agreement on January 11, 2018.
It is further alleged that upon further due diligence and inspection of the house which had been constructed by Katsimberis, it was discovered that the type of materials used in the construction of the model house, was not allowed and also that its construction had never been supervised by the engineers at the City of Harare and Katsimberis had fraudulently concealed these facts.
However, the State alleges that Kadye then made enquiries with the City of Harare to establish whether Katsimberis’s approved plans were genuine and he was informed that the stamp and signature on the plans were not genuine and neither were even in the City of Harare’s records nor they ever approved through normal procedures.
The City of Harare, through the director of works engineer Chawatama, further indicated, in his communication to Kadye, that Katsimberis’s plans had not been circulated in the council’s relevant departments for approval as has always been the norm.
As a result, the City of Harare then ordered the building to be demolished in 2018 as it had been erected without its approval and that it had been constructed using substandard materials. This whole saga led to Pokugara Properties (Pvt) Ltd suffering potential prejudice
in the sum of US$883 728 and had to start again with new plans and construction of new buildings thereby derailing the project by two years. The matter is pending.