HARARE – Spirited efforts by gospel musician Ivy Kombo and husband, Admire Kasi, to block tendering of alleged affidavits linked to the couple in their ongoing fraud trial failed on Wednesday after Harare magistrate, Feresi Chakanyuka accepted the documents as part of the evidence against them.

The British based couple is accused of illegally acquiring conversion certificates to practice law in Zimbabwe.

They are jointly charged with suspended Council for Legal Education (CLE) executive secretary Huggins Duri who was also against the decision by the State.

The exhibits were affidavits allegedly deposed at the High Court confirming Kombo and Kasi had written and passed eight modules which grant them the right to practise law in Zimbabwe.

Investigating officer Owen Mutembwa, who is one of the key witnesses in the case, had said the affidavits confirm that an offence was indeed committed.

Chakanyuka ruled in favour of the State and accepted the documents.

“The court will accept the said affidavits as exhibits as at this stage.

“The issue of relevance and authenticity the court will evaluate that at the end of the trial,” she ruled.

The trio, through their lawyers, had said the affidavits were irrelevant in this matter since the subject was centred on conversion certificates only.

“At the time the alleged documents were made, the first and second accused were not in this jurisdiction,” lawyer Admire Rubaya argued on Kombo’s behalf.

“So, they could not have signed before the commissioner of oaths Sigauke. This means that the allegation that the affidavits were made by the accused is not satisfactory.

“With respect there is no evidence these alleged documents were never in the accused possession.

“So the state has failed to prove that the accused made, or were in possession of the documents.

“The person before you is an IO.  He is not saying he saw the accused making the documents. There is no oral evidence of fact.”

He added, “The alleged offence does not relate to what is alleged to have happened at the High Court hence these documents are not relevant; they cannot prove the essential elements of the offence.”

His colleague, Everson Chatambudza representing Kasi, concurred arguing that the State “should not bombard the court with documents which mean nothing.”

“The evidence the state wants to prove is inadmissible because it is irrelevant,” he said.

“We need documents which answer the question before the court.”

Chatambudza said the commissioners of oath denied any knowledge of the documents.

Tamutsa Muzana, representing Duri, also concurred.

The lawyers said the alleged author of the documents, who is the Examinations Coordinator and Research Assistant Vimbainashe Rutendo Sigauke had disowned them when she testified in court.

Giving his testimony, Mutembwa said police investigations established that there was no letter from High Court judge Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba to confirm that Kombo and Kasi were exempted.

He said Shorai Mupunga who played a role of being a mediator between Kombo and Duri was the custodian of the certificates and would, instruct Fidelity Printers through one Edith Mandiyanike to print certificates of completion for the couple as if they wrote the exams.

Mutembwa also said Kombo filed an application for designation with CLE.

He also admitted that the application was done in 2019, way before the CLE Board of Examinations chairperson Vulindlela Bongani Sibanda who came to testify had joined the institution.

Asked how Kombo misrepresented facts to CLE, the IO said she connived with Duri to facilitate the certificates of completion at a fee.

Allegations are that Kombo and Kasi approached one Shorai Tafadzwa Mupunga, a CLE official to assist her to register and write the conversion examinations.

Sometime last year, Mupunga approached Duri, who indicated that he was able to facilitate the issuance of the conversion certificates, without writing the conversion examinations, if the couple paid US$1,100.

The two allegedly paid the money through Mupunga, who handed it to Duri, who then processed the certificates which certified that the couple had written and passed eight conversion subjects.

Kasi said there was no reason to pay anyone anything and even disputed claims that money was paid.

The two denied the allegations arguing that they had no reason to pay anyone anything as they followed legitimate procedures required by the CLE.

Kasi, in his defence, said he made an application in 2019 and in 2022, he received a letter signed by the council’s chairperson Justice Mugomba that he had been exempted from writing eight conversion examinations and directing him to make a payment which he did on October 31, 2022.

Kombo said she received the conversion certificate from the CLE, also signed by High Court judge, Mugomba.

She said she had no knowledge whether it was a product of the alleged fraud since she had gone through all the procedures for her to be issued with what she understood to be a legitimate conversion certificate.

Trial continues.