Gilad Shabtai withdraws fraud charges against Ofer Sivan, cites illness
Israeli businessman Gilad Shabtai has withdrawn fraud charges against his erstwhile partner Ofer Sivan and personal assistant Cassandra Myburgh citing that he is unable to travel to Zimbabwe to testify against the two on medical grounds.
The two were standing trial in the High Court accused of defrauding Shabtai of over US$700 000 and $25 million in local currency.
In an affidavit before the court, Shabtai says he has decided to withdraw the charges because he is unable to travel to the country to testify against the two on medical grounds.
“I am the Complainant in this criminal matter which is pending before the High Court of Zimbabwe against Ofer Sivan and Cassandra Myburg.
“I confirm that the Investigating Officer, Mr. Owen Mutembwa has contacted me with a view to ascertain if I will be available to testify in court on the 5th of May 2023 at 10am.
“I am currently incapacitated and hospitalised to the effect that I cannot possibly travel to Africa, Zimbabwe from Israel without risking my life. I am of ill-health and this has been exacerbated by my old age since I am turning 79 years.
“I have known Ofer Sivan for a long time as my right-hand man in Zimbabwe. I have thought about this case long and hard. In as much as I was wronged, and lodged a criminal complaint against Ofer Sivan and Cassandra Myburg I have decided to withdraw the case against the two Accused persons,” Shabtai said in his affidavit which now forms part of the record.
This comes as a relief to Sivan and Myburg after a series of attempts to avoid trial failed including the dismissal of their application to have the charges quashed.
Shabtai says he is grateful for the efforts of the prosecution and the investigating authority for the manner they handled the case.
However, he says he cannot risk his life coming to Zimbabwe to testify in the matter despite having interests in it.
“I am very grateful to the National Prosecuting Authority and Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission for taking my case but unfortunately, I cannot risk my life by traveling urgently to Zimbabwe in circumstances where my health does not permit.
“I have taken medical advice that it is not in my best interest to travel to Zimbabwe in my current state of ill health.
“I urge the National Prosecuting Authority and or the Honourable Prosecutor General of Zimbabwe to make a judgment call on how to proceed with the matter in my absence.
“In the event that a decision to withdraw the charges against Ofer Sivan and Cassandra Myburg is made, I will not begrudge anyone for I believe they have done everything it takes to make sure that justice is done in this matter,” he said.
Appearing for the State Whisper Mabhaudhi then applied to have the charges withdrawn at the instance of the complainant.
“I know that the case is between the State and Ofer Sivan as well as Cassandra Myburg, but I believe that as the instigator of these criminal investigations which led to these criminal proceedings, it is only fair and just that I set the record straight that I am withdrawing the criminal case against the two accused persons,” Shabtai said.