Zimbabwean socialite Felistas Murata Edwards, also known as Mai Titi, has been acquitted of theft of trust property by High Court Judge Justice Happias Zhou. The State agreed with Murata’s defence that the lower court had made a mistake in convicting her. As a result, her conviction has been overturned.
Murata had previously been imprisoned on fraud charges under similar circumstances. In this case, she was accused of unlawfully misrepresenting to the complainant, Rachel Mhuka, that she needed $10,000 for her business and would use her Mercedes Benz as collateral. Murata allegedly knew that the vehicle did not belong to her. She then gave Mhuka a different vehicle, an Audi Q5, which she later replaced with an invalid passport as collateral.
When Mhuka discovered that the passport was invalid, she confronted Murata, who promptly returned the Audi Q5. Subsequently, in January 2023, the police seized the car from Mhuka, claiming that it had been stolen from Else Event Car Hire. The car hire company had reported Murata for theft of trust property.
According to the State, Murata had rented the vehicle on September 29, 2022, and had agreed to make weekly payments of $770. However, she failed to make the payments and became evasive, leading to the involvement of the police. The vehicle, which is valued at $18,000, was eventually recovered.
With the acquittal, Murata is no longer considered guilty of the theft of trust property charges.