Reprieve for ex-Air Zim boss

HARARE - High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi yesterday extended ex-Air Zimbabwe corporate secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi’s bail pending her fresh appeal lodged in the Supreme Court.

Pfumbidzayi is challenging her conviction and seven-year imprisonment for criminal abuse of duty, following the recent decision by the High Court to dismiss her appeal.

She was jointly charged with the struggling airline’s ex-chief executive, Peter Chikumba.

Chitapi ordered Pfumbidzayi to remain on $5 000 bail pending the prosecution of the appeal, after State prosecutor Editor Mavuto consented to the application. 

The current bail process was instigated by Pfumbidzayi’s loss of her bid to overturn the Magistrates’ Court ruling.

This follows a ruling by High Court judges Edith Mushore and Charles Hungwe recently dismissing her appeal, demanding her to serve the jail term.

However, Pfumbidzayi, through her lawyer Webster Chinamora filed an appeal against the High Court ruling at the Supreme Court last Friday.

In her bail application, she argued that she lost the High Court appeal because the matter was never argued on merits, but erroneously dismissed.

She said she has prospects of success on appeal.

Pfumbidzayi further argued in her grounds of appeal that the High Court judges misdirected themselves and erred at law by dismissing her case on the basis that the notice of appeal was defective and invalid.

“What they should have done following that conclusion was to strike the matter from the roll. There was simply no basis for the learned judges (Mushore and Hungwe) to purport to deal with and dismiss an appeal which they had observed was not before them.

“This begs the question: If there was no appeal before the court, what was being dismissed on the merits?” Pfumbidzayi queried through her lawyer.

“On that score, the learned judges erred at law and strengthen the prospects of success on appeal.”

Chikumba has since been granted an application for the extension of bail pending the determination of his Supreme Court appeal.

He is out on $2 000 bail.

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