The State on Tuesday withdrew charges before plea, against the late Genius Ginimbi Kadungure who had two pending fraud cases before his tragic death.
Representing the late Ginimbi, lawyer Brighton Pabwe produced two copies of the death certificate for each of the cases as confirmation of death before Harare regional magistrate, Tranos Utahwashe who was hearing the matter.
“The accused person Genius Kadungure is now deceased and I have brought a copy of the death certificate as confirmation of death,” said Pabwe handing over the death certificates to the court.
On behalf of the State, prosecutor Teddy Kamuriwo made an application for the withdrawal of the charges before plea and for the court to close the cases as they are no longer proceeding to trial.
Speaking to H-Metro on how cases proceed after the death of an accused person, Pabwe said it is necessary to produce confirmation of death for the court to formally be made aware that an accused person who was appearing before it has passed away.
“Why it was necessary to bring the death certificate to court was for the court to be formally informed that the accused person who was appearing before it is now deceased and the case has to be closed or the State has to withdraw charges before plea that is why we had to bring that document before the court.
“If the lawyers of the now deceased don’t attend court on the remand date after the death of an accused person, the court will issue a warrant of arrest after the State would have applied for one, since a person who is on remand has to appear in court when ordered to appear.
“The court cannot rely on information, which is appearing in newspapers or social media. It is only through a form of documentation, a burial order or death certificate that the court can be satisfied that the accused person is now deceased.
“In our case we had to go to court because Genius’ Bentley Continental and the Rolls Royce are still being held by the police in the fraud cases so for us to be able to go and have those cars released by the police we need to first have the cases closed at court and that’s why we had to go through the process at court,” he said.
On whether the estate is liable after the death of an accused person, Pabwe said:
“In this case it wasn’t really necessary that the estate was liable. What we were doing as his lawyers was to ensure that the property that is being held by the police is released and then obviously the state estate will then be able to account for those two vehicles and once those processes will be done, the cars will be handed over to the executor who was duly appointed by the master of the High Court.”
He further clarified that the tax evasion cases had since been finalised so the issue of his company does not arise.
“The tax evasion case was finalised sometime in July and his company Piko trading had since paid of the $2, 5 million that was ordered by the court so the issue of tax evasion doesn’t arise in the circumstances.
“In the case that an accused person who was representing a company passes away before trial, they must find another representative to replace the one that has since died,” said Pabwe.
The State was alleging that in October 2017, Kadungure went to Daytona (Pvt) Ltd, Johannesburg, South Africa, and bought a Rolls Royce Ghost vehicle (chassis number SCA66LOHUH23211 and engine number 9022160) from Daytona Motor Group (Pvt) Ltd trading as Rolls Royce Sandton, South Africa, at a total cost of R5 000 000.
The court heard that in a bid to deceive Zimra, Kadungure allegedly made invoice number RR78695 appear as if he had bought the vehicle for R3 000 000 from Daytona (Pvt) Ltd, South Africa.
It was alleged that during the same period and pursuant to his plan, Kadungure went on to manufacture a fake South African bill of entry (number P58333) to make it appear as if the vehicle had been cleared by the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
The court heard that on July 27, 2018, armed with the fake documents, Kadungure imported the vehicle through Beitbridge Border Post and tendered the said documents to Zimra officials for duty payment.
The State claimed that Zimra acted upon the misrepresentation and charged duty totalling to US$138 170,49 instead of US$228 430,59.