Property developer George Katsimberis was almost arrested for contempt of court after he started talking in Greek in protest against the commencement of his trial.
Early this week, he applied for postponement of his trial arguing that his English was not fluent, hence he needed a Greek interpreter.
Katsimberis is accused of duping fellow property developer Pokugara Properties of close to US$1 million in a joint venture project to build cluster houses in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.
His trial started with the first witness Michael Van Blerk telling the court that Katsimebris understands English.
Van Blerk, who was Pokugara Properties Zimbabwe general manager, told the court that Katsimberis used building plans which were not approved by the City of Harare to construct a showroom.
“We believed that the accused had City of Harare approved plans. City of Harare wrote to us that there were no approved plans,” said Van Blerk.
He said they had a joint venture with Katsimberis to develop land owned by Pokugara Properties.
“After signing of the joint venture agreement, Katsimberis was responsible to obtain all planning authorities on behalf of Pokugara and get approved plans and abide by all the bylaws. The building was then demolished after the city of Harare discovered that it was built without an approved plan and was constructed with unauthorized material,” he said.
“The accused for a period encircled the structure to prevent us from viewing it but eventually we saw it. He used a steel frame and concrete tar which was not part of our agreement. The house was demolished carefully and without malice by the city council and all materials was recovered by the accused person.”
Katsimberis through his lawyer advocate Tawanda Kanengoni denied the allegations and told the court that he will file his defence outline in due course.
Machistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro postponed the trial to April 5. – Newsday