HARARE – Felistas Murata, better known as Mai Titi, has been set free by the High Court four-and-a-half months into an 18-month jail term for fraud.
The National Prosecuting Authority did not oppose an application for his lawyers against both conviction and sentence, leaving Justice Happias Zhou with no option but to set her free.
Speaking on Monday, Mai Titi’s lawyer Admire Masango said the trial magistrate Munashe Chibanda erred in convicting the social meeting star.
“We the pursued the appeal and the State made a concession that the conviction in the lower court was not proper and the High Court now accepted the concession that was filed by the State which means the conviction that had been made by the lower has now been set aside by the High Court on appeal. Felistus Murata is a free person now,” the lawyer said.
Previously, the High Court dismissed her application for bail pending appeal on the basis that it had no prospects for success.
Murata was convicted for fraud and theft of trust property.
In the first count, prosecutors alleged that in September 2022 she misrepresented facts to Rachel Mhuka that she was in need of US$10,000 for her business venture and would give her a Mercedes Benz vehicle with its registration book as surety while aware the car was not hers.
She later retrieved the vehicle from the Mhuka stating that it did not belong to her and went on to give her another vehicle, an Audi as surety which she later took back leaving an invalid passport.
Mhuka later discovered that the passport was not valid and returned it back to the socialite who then gave her the Audi back.
In January this year, police seized the vehicle from Mhuka citing that the vehicle belonged to a car dealership called Else Event Car Hire.
Prosecutors said she exhibited an intention to deceive the complainant who was prejudiced of US$10,000 which she never recovered.
On the second count, the car rental company was the complainant and represented by its director Liberty Vazhura who reported the theft of trust property against the comedienne.
The court heard Mai Titi approached the dealership intending to hire an Audi Q5.
She allegedly entered into an agreement to make weekly payments of US$770 and a lease agreement was signed. She failed to make the payments and was ordered to return the vehicle but became evasive.
The car rental company reported her to the police leading to the recovery of the vehicle at Mhuka’s residence. – ZimLive