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Perjury Accused Harare Land Baron’s Aide Falls Sick, Trial Stalls

Harare businessman and Pokugara Properties managing director Michael John Van Blerk who is facing perjury charges cannot stand trial as he is sick.

Appearing before Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje, defence lawyer Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara pleaded with the court for postponement of trial to the 30th of July 2021.

“For today’s proceedings we have a difficulty in that the first accused (Van Blerk) is not feeling well it has necessitated that for the purposes of today’s proceedings Pokugara Properties be represented by an official merely to be a body in the dock. Mr Michael John Van Blerk is in the parking lot of this court, he is present in the court premise. He is unable to move and navigate the stairs and appear before you,” said Advocate Zhuwarara.

Presenting a Medical affidavit from Dr. Fiona Campbell, Advocate Zhuwarara said Van Blerk was suffering from catatonic seizure, a condition which he said was temporary.

“I have inquired with the Doctor in respect of this condition, it is not permanent, I therefore pray that this matter be postponed for the purposes of request of the first accused to obtain medical attention and to that effect be in a state where he can appear before you and properly represent the second accused (Pokugara Properties) and also answer to the charge,” he said.

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The state represented by Zivanai Macharaga requested that the accused be examined by a State medical officer from two of Harare’s health institutions (Parirenyatwa or Harare Central Hospital) since Dr. Campbell was a personal medical doctor for Van Blerk.

The State opposed the request of postponement to July 31 2021 on the basis that such a date would accept that the accused is not fit to stand trial.

The defence lawyers led the Magistrate and the State to the parking lot to ascertain Van Blerk’s physical state where he looked ill covered in a grey blanket.

Magistrate Mambanje remanded Van Blerk to June 17, 2021 for trial pending reports from the medical team.

Charges are that Van Blerk in his personal capacity as well as representing Pokugara Properties lied in an affidavit that a show house constructed by George Katsimberis was built without approved building plans by the City of Harare.

Katsimberis had built the show houses as part of a joint venture with Kenneth Raydon Sharpe owner of Pokugara Properties who remains at large.

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