Jailed Chitungwiza town clerk seeks release

HARARE - High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu has reserved ruling in an application for bail pending appeal filed by jailed ex-Chitungwiza town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa.

Tanyanyiwa, who is currently serving an effective two-and-a-half years prison term after being convicted by Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya on three counts involving fraud and corruption, yesterday told the court he has high prospects of success on appeal.

He is being represented by his lawyer Admire Rubaya, who told the court his client had not misrepresented facts and should have been acquitted.

“The essential elements of this case (fraud) were not proved through evidence. The conviction was not proper,” Rubaya said, adding that the magistrate misdirected himself.

However, Sharon Fero from the Attorney General’s office opposed the bail application, claiming there are no prospects of success on appeal and that the magistrate did not misdirect himself.

Fero said there was a possibility that Tanyanyiwa might be tempted to flee, if freed on bail.

Bhunu said the judgment will be delivered in writing in due course, before reserving his ruling in the matter.

Tanyanyiwa was three weeks ago initially sentenced to six years in prison on one count of fraud, before 18 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour in the next four years.

A further two years were set aside on condition Tanyanyiwa pays back $80 000 to Chitungwiza Town Council.
Tanyanyiwa was also ordered to pay a $300 fine for defeating the course of justice, failure of which he is to spend a further month in prison.

He was slapped with another one year for the third count of criminally abusing office.

Mujaya said the sentence for the third count is to run concurrently with the sentence for the first count.

Tanyanyiwa was found innocent on seven counts of fraud after prosecutor Oliver Marwa conceded that there was no incriminating evidence against him — a position Mujaya commended as “professional and well-made”.

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