Shiri swindler seeks review of sentence

HARARE - Convicted Harare businessman Brian Tarisai Kambasha who is serving three years for duping Airforce of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri of more than $50 000 is seeking a review of his sentence and bail pending appeal.

Kambasha, 32, and his company Hemmingworth Cartwright (Private) Limited were convicted of theft of trust property.

Magistrate Milton Serima sentenced Kambasha to five years’ imprisonment before suspending one year on condition of good behaviour.

Another year was suspended on condition that Kambasha compensates Shiri $50 125 before May 29.

His company was ordered to pay $1 000 fine before May 29.

Kambasha’s lawyer, Tazoroora Musarurwa said the magistrate had erred by convicting his client on the allegations.

“The funds in question were not trust funds and the appellants were free to use them as they pleased in any way that led to the finalisation of the solar project. All the funds went towards completing the project although it was not completed.

“It was injudicious for the learned magistrate to make comments that the accused was a cunning malcontent who was no different to Rotina Mavhunga, a famous convicted fraudster when this had no bearing on whether the State had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Musarurwa further submitted that Serima failed by not addressing any of the points raised by the appellants in his defence.

He said Serima had given Kambasha a very short time to complete restitution that it is tantamount to serving the alternative prison term.

Prosecutor George Manokore opposed the application on the basis that Kambasha would flee the court’s jurisdiction.

“Given that the appellant was convicted of a lengthy prison term, granting him bail will be like giving him a ticket to flee jurisdiction.

“On the issue of restitution, a mere notice of an appeal does not suspend an order of restitution as enshrined in Section 63 of the Magistrate Act. The State proved that sometime in April 2013, Kambasha approached Shiri and indicated to him that he wanted to start a solar power pilot project.

He proposed to install the solar plant at Shiri’s farm in Bindura after indicating that the project had three stages. Shiri agreed to have the first stage of the project initiated at a total cost of $50 125.

On June 7, the same year Shiri and Kambasha agreed that the plant would be mounted within 12 weeks of payment. Kambasha received the money in three instalments of $20 000, $30 000 and $125.

However, Kambasha only mounted metal stands for the plant and converted the balance to his own use.

Shiri then approached Kambasha after 12 weeks had lapsed but he gave numerous excuses after failing to install the plant or reimburse the money prompting Shiri to make a police report.

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