HARARE – The High Court has quashed a $600 fine imposed on Harare businesswoman Patience Chivasa, who was accused of defrauding a South Africa-based Indian businessman of $22 000.
Chivasa appealed to the High Court after she had been found guilty by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts on allegations of defrauding Dharmesh Nagar.
However, High Court judges Charles Hungwe and Edith Mushore, on Thursday quashed both the conviction and sentence.
“The appeal be and is hereby allowed. The conviction is set aside and sentence quashed,” the judges ruled.
In her appeal, Chivasa told the court that the magistrate had erred by finding her guilty.
“The totality of the evidence led in the court aquo pits two conflicting versions, that of appellant (Chivasa) and that of the complainant (Nagar). This means therefore that the State effectively relied on the evidence of a single witness.
“The court ought to have noted this and given the appellant what she deserved, the benefit of doubt,” she said.
She further stated that the magistrate applied the wrong standard of proof in convicting her.
According to court papers, the Zimbabwean-born businessman claimed Chivasa had failed to account for about $20 000 in cash for facilitating businesses and $2 000 for a consignment of Zanu PF women’s league shirts in 2014.
Chivasa had however, denied the allegations and told the court that the sum was part of an advance payment or commissions for the various deals she had already carried for her erstwhile partners.
She further argued that Nagar used a forged email document, which led to her conviction at the Magistrates’ Court.
Chivasa has since filed insult and forgery charges against Nagar, who is currently in South Africa.
Nagar is wanted by the police in Zimbabwe in connection with the allegations reported under RRB 2803100 and RRB 2803101 respectively at Borrowdale Police Station.