Source: Businessman freed on bail | The Herald November 27, 2018
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
A Harare businessman, Michael Van Blerk, who is accused of defrauding Harare City Council (HCC) of $1,5 million in a property development deal, has been released on $2 000 bail by the High Court. Justice Davison Foroma yesterday ruled that the State’s case was weak and that the case appeared more of a civil dispute than a criminal offence.
Bail was granted after convincing arguments by a team of lawyers comprising Advocates Girach Firoz, Tawanda Zhuwarara and Taona Sibanda.
Advocate Zhuwara said that the State had to make concession during the bail hearing.
“The State conceded that its case was weak and that there was no evidence that our client would interfere with witnesses or abscond,” he said.
Van Blerk, who is the director of Sunshine Development, allegedly misrepresented to NMB Bank that he had board resolution to acquire a $1,5 million mortgage bond to fund the Mbudzi Project.
Van Blerk, according to the prosecution, failed to service the mortgage bond, resulting in the land being transferred to the bank.
Last week, Van Blerk appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing fraud charges.
The magistrate denied him bail and postponed the matter to December 4.
Allegations against Van Blerk arose on June 22, 2007 when the City of Harare and Augur Investments entered into an agreement of understanding for the development of Hopley Commercial Area, development of middle housing and construction of a hotel at Mabelreign Golf Course and Mukuvisi Phase 1.
Van Blerk then acquired a mortgage bond to fund the project which he allegedly failed to service.
Van Blerk, as part of the bail conditions, was ordered to surrender his passport to the clerk of court and to continue staying at his given address pending finalisation of the criminal case.