CORPORATE rescue practitioner, Knowledge Hofisi, who was being charged of fraud and concealing a transaction from a principal, was acquitted on Friday.
He was acquitted at the close of the State case by Harare regional magistrate, Marewanazvo Gofa, who ruled that the State failed dismally to prove its case.
She ruled that ordering Hofisi to his defence would be like taking him on a fishing expedition with the hope that he will incriminate himself into a conviction.
The charges emanated from a US$17 000 payment involving Redwing Mine.
The complainants, Patricia Mutombgera and Stanley Motto, were described as dishonest by Magistrate Gofa.
The two claimed that they paid US$7000 to Hofisi for the purpose of registering a new company and he instead bought a shelf company contrary to their agreement.
It, however, emerged that the money was paid to Harare lawyer, Listen Zinyengerere, and not to Hofisi as claimed.
The two also alleged Hofisi fraudulently prepared a joint venture agreement involving Probadeck, Duatlet and Betterbrands and it emerged that their lawyers had drafted the agreement.
Represented by Admire Rubaya, Hofisi argued that there was nothing criminal about the transactions and that had they not been happy, the only recourse was to sue for specific performance in the civil courts.
It was also alleged that Hofisi received US$10 000, without revealing it to the Master of the High Court, which appointed him corporate rescue practitioner.
His lawyer argued that Hofisi was not an agent of the Master of the High Court and that even the Master praised him for a job well done and kept him on the job even after a criminal complaint had been filed against him.
“The complainant actually made an application to have the accused removed as a corporate rescue practitioner for Redwing Mining Company but the Master confirmed that his department did not see anything wrong with the accused’s conduct and there was no reason whatsoever to remove the qccused from the post.
“There is no employment contract between the Master and the accused person but the accused’s duties are set out in the Insolvency Act.
“Thus, an independent corporate rescue practitioner cannot with respect be adjudged to be an agent of the Master of the High Court in the circumstances,” Rubaya argued.
“In terms of the signed agreement in question, the accused was actually entitled to be paid 3% of US$3 million, which was supposed to be paid within seven days.
“This means that the parties had in actual fact agreed that the accused was to be paid US$90 000 within 7 days from the date of signing.
“The payment was made in the sum of US$10,000 which is less than US$90,000 which was the agreed fee since there was an extant and valid agreement upon which the payment of US $10 000 was predicated, then in reality and at law, there was no need for the Master of the High Court to be informed before the accused could receive such a payment.
“This is because US $10,000 was well below the agreed US$90,000.
“Thus, the allegations relating to the payment of US $10,000.00 are without any sense since the facts do not satisfy the requirement for the accused person to be said to be an agent of the Master of the High Court.”
Dealing with all the counts, regional magistrate Gofa said the “witnesses were dishonest.”