The Sunday News
Sunday News Reporter
IN a stunning turn of events, businessman Ofer Sivan and his personal assistant Cassandra Myburg were declared innocent of all charges of fraud that had been leveled against them. After enduring months of grueling court appearances and legal battles, the duo has finally been found not guilty.
From the very beginning, Sivan and Myburg vehemently maintained their innocence, claiming that the allegations brought against them by complainant Gilad Shabtai were false.
After countless delays and postponements, the State had no choice but to withdraw the allegations against Sivan and Myburg, resulting in the complete dismissal of the case. During the trial, the first witness called by the state, Simba Mawere, a legal advisor to Stanbic Bank, unequivocally confirmed that all necessary procedures for opening the company accounts had been meticulously followed, with no complaints ever lodged against their operations. This testimony discredited the state’s allegations, proving that Sivan and Myburg had acted ethically and in full compliance with banking regulations.
The second witness, L Nhari, exposed the lack of credibility in Shabtai’s case. Nhari testified that he had been approached by Shabtai’s legal representative, who provided him with selected documents and samples of Shabtai’s signature. However, Nhari expressed his frustration at being summoned as a witness for a matter he had no knowledge of. He further revealed that he had never been approached by investigating officers or the complainant regarding the allegations.
These revelations deeply concerned the court, leading to a warning issued to Prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudi. The court emphasised that the complainant, Shabtai, along with other witnesses, should attend the trial on specific dates. However, when the trial resumed, neither Shabtai nor his partner Munyaradzi Gonyora appeared. Investigating Officer Owen Mutembwa, under oath, admitted that he had never conducted any investigations into the matter and had only received a file from his supervisor. This admission severely undermined the credibility of the prosecution’s case.
Consequently, Justice Pisirayi Kwenda acquitted Sivan and Myburg. The judge highlighted the fundamental flaw in allowing a complainant to assume the role of investigator, record statements, and determine the attendance of witnesses, as occurred in this case. Justice Kwenda firmly stated that a criminal court should never be misled into presiding over a private prosecution disguised as a public prosecution.