The Sunday News
Peter Matika, Senior Reporter
A BULAWAYO woman Aquilinia Kayidza Pamberi, who at one time was among different women suspected to be in a relationship with the late MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, has challenged a court’s decision to convict her in a fraud case.
Pamberi, through her lawyers Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practioners, last week filed a notice of appeal at the magistrates’ court in Bulawayo stating that she was aggrieved by the magistrate’s decision, where she was found guilty of fraud and ordered to pay a fine of $500.
“ . . . In default of payment of three months imprisonment with a further six months imprisonment suspended on condition she does not within a period of five years commit an offence involving dishonesty, appeals against conviction only,” read part of the appeal notice.
Pamberi was two weeks ago, issued with a warrant of arrest after she defaulted on paying a fine but it was later cancelled, after she paid.
She had been convicted of fraud on 12 April this year, where she was then ordered to pay a fine of $500 by 30 April or face a three-month jail term.
In the grounds of her appeal, she stated that the magistrate erred in finding her guilty.
“ . . . in the circumstances where the elements of fraud had not been met and established beyond reasonable doubt and focusing on matters irrelevant to a finding of guilt in a fraud case.
“a fortiori the learned magistrate grossly misdirected herself on the facts, such misdirection amounting to misdirection in law, in finding that the appellant is guilty of fraud, such finding is not supported by the evidence that was placed before her,” read the appeal.
Pamberi stated through the appeal that the court had misdirected itself in disregarding the “clear contradictory” evidence in the complainant’s version of evidence.
“The court a quo grossly erred and misdirected itself in totally disregarding the clear contradictory evidence in the complainant’s version which evidence was mutually destructive that no reasonable and sensible court which applied its mind to the facts would have disregarded same.
“The learned magistrate erred in failing to appreciate that the complainant was an accomplice who ought to have been cautioned and whose evidence should have been treated with caution. The learned magistrate erred in rejecting in toto the entire evidence of the appellant without proffering any reasonable explanation when her evidence was credible,” read the appeal.
Last year, two of Pamberi’s luxury vehicles, a Mercedes Benz and Nissan Hardbody were attached and sold by the Sheriff of the Court over a $5 000 debt.
The debt, which instigated investigations into her conduct, led to the discovery of her scam, leading to her subsequent arrest.
According to court records, sometime in January last year Ms Irene Chinyanda met Pamberi in the city centre, where she told the latter that she was seeking to raise $575 to pay the Deputy Sheriff for a writ of execution for a case that was ruled in her favour at the High Court.
It was then stated that on 16 July, Ms Chinyanda and Pamberi met outside a boutique in the city centre, where Pamberi asked about her issue that was in the courts.
Ms Chinyanda reportedly told Pamberi that the defendant in the issue had paid part of the money owed to her and also made an urgent chamber application at the High Court. Pamberi is then reported to have told Ms Chinyanda that she had a connection at the High Court, who was able to make a follow-up on the case. Pamberi is said to have later phoned Ms Chinyanda, saying that her contact had checked on the file at the court.
On 18 July, Pamberi again phoned Ms Chinyanda requesting for a meeting over the issue. When they met Pamberi told Ms Chinyanda that the said connection had requested $10 000 in cash, so that he could assist her with the matter.
Ms Chinyanda is reported to have told Pamberi that she did not have $10 000 but had $5 000, which she transferred to her bank account.
Pamberi is then alleged to have phoned Ms Chinyanda telling her that she should instruct her lawyer to go to the High Court and apply for a sit down over the matter.
Ms Chinyanda then requested to meet the alleged contact but Pamberi declined, saying the contact was not at liberty to meet her, assuring her that “all was in order”.
On a later date Pamberi phoned Ms Chinyanda telling her that her contact had not seen any opposing affidavits in the said case. That is when Ms Chinyanda’s suspicions were raised and she demanded her money back, saying she should write an affidavit acknowledging that she owed her $5 000, which Pamberi refused to do.
On 7 August, Pamberi is alleged to have sent a picture of a bank transfer, where she purported to have transferred $2 900 to Ms Chinyanda’s account. However, upon investigations it was revealed that Pamberi had actually not done any transaction of that sort but allegedly forged the document.