Friday, 3 July 2020

MDC MP CLEARED OF FORGERY


NJUBE-Lobengula legislator Gift Banda who was facing charges of forging signatures of a Bulawayo man resulting in him losing a residential stand worth US$60 000, was yesterday acquitted of forgery.

Banda was jointly charged with Mbonisi David Nkomazana (33) of Bard Real Estate. They were accused of forging Mr Nkululeko Ndlovu’s signature purporting that he had agreed to sell him his stand in Selbourne Brooke — an upmarket suburb in Bulawayo.

Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya acquitted the two of forgery charges at the close of the State’s case, saying there was no evidence linking them to the alleged offence.

Mr Tashaya ruled that the State failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

He said the investigating police officers who were handling the case failed to ask Ndlovu to submit new signatures since he had already seen the allegedly forged ones.

“It is clear that when the complainant reported the matter to the police he had seen the signatures in question so when he was asked to give or write samples of his signature for examination, he altered his signature so that they could not match the ones on the questioned documents,” said Mr Tashaya.

“I am surprised as to why the investigating officer asked for new samples of the complainant’s signature instead of simply extracting samples of the signature from his old documents he had signed.” 

Mr Tashaya said the court proved that there was an agreement of sale between Ndlovu and Banda as evidenced by the documents which were purported to be at the High Court.

“If the agreement of sale did not exist, what then did he want the High Court to cancel? The State should have seen that these allegations were malicious. If the complainant was really genuine, he should not have altered his signatures at all,” he said.

Mr Ndlovu, in his testimony, argued that the agreement of sale was fake and argued that he only had a verbal agreement with Banda which he claimed reneged on.

Mr Ndlovu said Banda went behind his back and deposited money into his bank account yet there was no agreement on a figure.

The prosecutor, Mr George Rufumoyo, said sometime in February 2015, Ndlovu bought his stand and signed a memorandum of agreement of sale with Bulawayo Glass and Allied Products (Pvt) Ltd, represented by Sipho Mhlanga. The agreement was drafted by Bard Real Estate represented by Nkomazana.

The court heard that sometime in 2017, Banda allegedly approached Ndlovu and offered to buy the stand from him, promising to purchase a bigger stand for him in Paddonhurst. 

Banda and Nkomazana also allegedly forged an agreement of sale for the stand between Banda and Bulawayo Glass and Allied Products.

The document was drafted by Nkomazana using the Bard Real Estate logo.

“Banda and Ndlovu settled their agreement verbally. Banda failed to keep his end of the bargain of securing another stand in Paddonhurst and instead offered to pay Ndlovu cash for his Selbourne Brooke stand. He again failed to settle the cash payment,” said Mr Rufumoyo.

On July 21, 2017, Ndlovu sent Banda a WhatsApp message informing him that he no longer wanted to sell his stand to him.

The court heard that despite the cancellation by Ndlovu, Banda went on to deposit $2 000 into Ndlovu’s Steward Bank account and proceeded to start construction at the stand.

“When Ndlovu realised that Banda was defiant, the complainant, through his lawyers, wrote a letter instructing the accused person to stop his construction but he did not comply. Ndlovu and his lawyers then made an application to the High Court declaring the sale null and void since it was against Bulawayo City Council’s regulations to sell an undeveloped stand,” said Mr Rufumoyo.

The court heard that Banda in turn tendered at the High Court a cessation agreement which was drafted by Nkomazana in his official capacity as a sales agent for Bard Real Estate. The cessation agreement purported that Ndlovu had ceded all interest and rights of the stand to Bulawayo Glass and Allied Products.

It is alleged that the document had Ndlovu’s forged signatures and also tendered at the High Court was an acknowledgement of payment which was drafted by Nkomazana in his capacity as a sales agent of the accused company.
A report was made to the police leading to the accused persons’ arrest. Chronicle

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