The trial of a Harare lawyer on allegations of misappropriating trust funds amounting to US$200 000 kicked off yesterday with him denying the charges.
Ryan Baglow (35) of Matizanadzo and Warhurts Legal Practitioners allegedly used two names to hoodwink his clients, the court heard.
He allegedly failed to account for US$200 000 which he collected on behalf of his client on a sale of two stands.
Baglow is on $50 000 bail.
The complainant in the matter is Lake Fisheries, a duly registered company in Kariba, represented by one of its directors, Mr David Edwin Webster.
It is alleged that in 2007, Webster and his co-director, the late Mr Thomas Campbell Miller, formed a company named Stenplay Investments, which purchased the entire issued share capital in companies called Lake Fresh Fishers Kariba Sardines and Sea Farmers from Peter Oscar Marchussen.
According to the State, Lake Fresh Fisheries had properties which were stand numbers, 473-566 Kariba Township, but due to financial inability, the two directors decided to dispose them.
It is alleged they wanted to raise money to fund Lake Fresh Fisheries and its associated company’s capital and operational needs.
Mr Miller then expressed interest in purchasing the two stands for his company called Fairwinds Farming (Pvt) Limited and he approached Baglow for legal advice whom he knew as Ryan Stewart.
It is the State’s case that Baglow fraudulently appointed “another” lawyer called Ryan Baglow to represent Lake Fresh Fisheries in the sale of its two stands when in actual fact it was him using the two names.
Acting on the misrepresentation, Mr Webster signed a resolution authorising Baglow to sell the two stands on their behalf and he subsequently sold them to Mr Miller at an agreed price of USS$200 000.
He further instructed Mr Miller to deposit US$40 000 into Matizanadzo and Warhurst Law Firm’s trust account and US$160 000 into Lake Fresh Fisheries account.
An agreement of sale of the two stands was drafted between Lake Fresh Fisheries and Fairwinds Farming where Baglow represented the seller, but according to the State, Baglow failed to account for the proceeds of the stands.
Baglow, it is alleged, later facilitated the transfer of the stands from Lake Fresh Fisheries to Fairwinds.
Mr Miller later passed on, leaving Mr Webster as the only director of Stenplay, who later realised that he had been duped by Baglow and made a report to the police.
Investigations established that Baglow was using Ryan Baglow and Ryan Stewart as his names, with the name Ryan Stewart having no record at the office of the Registrar General.