Harare property developer’s civil imprisonment case overturned

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A High Court judge has struck out a claim by businessman Kenneth Sharpe seeking a civil jail sentence for property developer George Katsimberis.

Last month, Katsimberis was served with a summons for civil imprisonment by the Registrar of the High Court after allegedly failing to pay US$10,535 to Pokugara Properties, Pokugara Ecofriendly company and Sharpe.

In the notice dated October 14, 2022, the Registrar said Katsimberi should pay plaintiffs the money taxed for costs and charges under a judgment obtained against him in the High Court in November 2020.

Sharpe was asking for Katsimberis’ imprisonment, accusing the sheriff of failing to seize the property for nonpayment of the money.

But on Wednesday, the High Court judge, Judge Never Katiyo, struck the case out of court.

Through his attorney, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, Katsimberis argued that the case could not proceed as some documents were missing.

Katiyo ruled that the case could not be heard without proper paperwork.

Chinyoka argued that Sharpe’s attorney did not bring a return nulla bona to cause Katsimberi’s civil imprisonment.

A nula bona return of service is intended to indicate that the judgment debtor has no recoverable property.

Sharpe’s lawyers had brought a return of service showing an attempted seizure of Katsimberis’ property after it emerged he was staying at a hotel.

Reports in the past have revealed an attempt to seize the hotel property where Katsimberis was staying.

In a notice of civil imprisonment, the clerk had said that Katsimberis had to justify why a sentence of civil imprisonment should not be imposed on him.

The clerk said the court would investigate his financial situation before making a decision on whether to send him to jail or give him more time to pay the money.

Recently, High Court Judge, Justice Jacob Manzunzu ordered Katsimberis to pay the plaintiffs’ unnecessary costs after having the case adjourned.

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