Kastimberis told Harare magistrate Vongai Guriro in his last appearance that the transcripts were doctored on a scale that borders on criminality.

By Correspondent

Prominent property developer George Katisemberis says he has noted serious anomalies in the transcripts for his ongoing trial for fraud, which he believes were manipulated to influence the outcome.

Kastimberis, appeared in court for the continuation of his application for the referral of the case to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), told Harare magistrate Vongai Guriro in his last appearance that the transcripts were doctored on a scale that borders on criminality.

The businessman wants the case where he is accused of forging a plan for a house he built on behalf of Ken Sharpe’s Pokugara Properties in Harare’s Borrowdale area referred to the ConCourt as he argues that his rights have been violated in the long running trial.

Pokugara is owned by businessman Ken Sharpe, which destroyed the show house without a court order after claiming that it was built using an unapproved plan.

He wants to use records from the lower court in the ConCourt application to halt his trial.

Katsimberis made the application after several attempts to have magistrate Vongai Guwuriro Muchuchuti and prosecutor Michael Reza rescue themselves from the matter over alleged conflict of interest were dismissed.

His lawyer Tino Chinyoka said the fact that the transcripts were tampered with put the completeness, accuracy, and fairness of his client’s trial in doubt.

So bad was the editing of the transcripts, it now appears as if some of the court sessions were held on Sundays, Chinyoka said.

During cross-examination by his lawyer, Katsimberis said some key dates and information were deliberately omitted to the extent that the record no longer has any meaning and significance.

He said the development will prejudice his application for referral to the apex court.

Some of the things that were allegedly removed from the transcripts were instances where Sharpe’s aide Tatiana Aleshina was mentioned.

In other instances things that were said by the prosecution were attributed to Katsimberis’ lawyers or vice versa.

The property developer also complained about prosecutor Michael Reza and Aleshina’s alleged close relationship.

Aleshina’s name was only mentioned in a letter she wrote to Hosea Chisango, which was presented in court as an exhibit. 

The letter ordered Harare City Council to withdraw charges against Sharpe’s business partner Oleksandr Sheremet.

Katsimberis also claimed that his statements and that of his lawyer were also doctored. 

“Some dates with proceedings going beyond an hour seating were compressed to only one-and-half pages,” he said.

Court proceedings that took place on June 22, July, 7, 8, 13 and August 16 as well as September 12, 2023 were condensed into 53 pages from the original 334 to 387 pages.

In comparison, on one day on October 30 the transcript for the proceedings was 45 pages.

Katsimberis said statements by his lawyer were also misrepresented in the transcript.

He said from the doctored transcript it appeared as if his lawyers had turned against him.

“I am not happy to go to the ConCourt with my lawyer saying my application is manifestly false,” he said as he queried whether it was practical for his lawyer to go against his position in court.

On page 343 of the transcript where prosecution asked for an adjournment of the case it now appeared as if the defendant’s lawyers made the move.

On page 343,  one of the transcripts  says  on  July 13 Katsimberis’ lawyers opened the court proceedings when it is supposed to be the prosecution.

On other occasions, the transcripts do not have records of court sessions and do not indicate the subsequent court date as per norm.

“On 14 July 2023, the case was postponed to next week and the next date is 7 August, three weeks later,” Chinyoka observed.

“Is it possible for the court to postpone the proceedings to next week and for everyone to show up in three weeks at the same time?”

“With this in mind, can you discount the possibility that there are proceedings that have been skipped between 13 July and 7 August?”

Chinyoka said on August 7, the court started with examination of the witness in chief, referring to the last seating but saying things that were never mentioned on July 14.

He said this showed that there were some dates that were missing in the transcript.

He said the transcript was criminally tampered with such that some pages from the document were typed in huge fonts and double spacing resulting in 57 pages being reduced to only two. 

The font size and spacing was suspiciously different on some pages, he said.

“Some parts are edited out to ascertain that certain people do not come out in a bad light,” Chinyoka added.

“The only person who benefits from what has been done is the state.

“You cannot have justice if court papers are carefully doctored so they omit certain reports.”