By Tanaka Mrewa and Cynthia Dube
A top Bulawayo lawyer who is facing allegations of conniving with two accomplices to forge title deeds and sell a residential stand without the owner’s knowledge has been granted an application for refusal of further remand.
Brighton Ndove allegedly in collusion with Ms Simangaliso Muringi and Mr Edmund Makonese, forged an identity card and received $16 000 for the stand.
Bulawayo magistrate Mr Batanai Tuwe granted the application on Friday after Ndove’s lawyer, Mr Mlweliwenkululeko Ncube made submissions that challenged the state’s fraud allegations.
Mr Tuwe said the State lacked solid evidence to incriminate the lawyer and his two alleged accomplices.
Ndove, who is a senior partner at Ndove, Museta and Partners law firm in the city, allegedly connived with an accomplice who claimed to be Sikhanyisiwe Phiri to defraud Mr Majahana Moyo of his money.
In delivering his judgment, Mr Tuwe said the law states that for an accused person to be placed on remand, the State should prove beyond reasonable doubt that a suspect may have committed the crime.
“The law states that the State has to provide reasonable evidence that incriminates the accused person. The State should know, assess and analyse all essential elements of fraud. The misrepresentation made should cause prejudice and should be unlawful. Both state and defence counsel agree to the stated reasons, whether or not proven or investigated by the state.
“The house in question here was legally transferred. The buyer suffered no prejudice as the house that he bought is in his name legally. The accused person did not mislead the buyer. Had there been a false statement supplied to the buyer it would have been enough to incriminate the buyer.
“The state misled itself into believing that fraud can be committed upon a person who has not had the misrepresentation. The application is hereby successful”.
Submissions made by the three legal representatives stated that their clients were falsely charged.
Mr Ncube stated that his client, Ndove, had acted in his legal capacity to transfer the house into the buyer’s name.
“My client had no capacity to question the legality of the allegedly forged identity card as it was accompanied by many affidavits that had gone through hands of police officers for verification,” said Mr Ncube.
The court overruled submission made by prosecutor Mr Tinashe Dzipe that if prejudice is suffered by a third party, it would be sufficient to file a fraud report.
Mr Dzipe told the court that on January 16 last year, Ms Simangaliso Muringi and Mr Edmund Makonese went to Ndove’s offices where they introduced Mr Negion Majahana Moyo to a woman they said was Sikhanyisiwe Phiri, the registered “owner” of a residential stand which was on sale.
“Phiri was in possession of a fake national identity card, registration number 66-295251-L-66. Ndove allegedly processed the change of ownership using forged documents.
The actual value of the stand was $30 000,” said Mr Dzipe. On realising that he had been duped, Mr Moyo reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of Ndove. Chronicle