Undenge freed on bail

HARARE - Former Energy minister Samuel Undenge, who was jailed for four years for prejudicing the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) of $12 000 after he issued out a tender irregularly, has been freed on bail pending the hearing of his appeal.

He was freed by the High Court on Wednesday on $1 000 bail.

As part of his bail conditions, Undenge was ordered to continue residing at his Glen Lorne home in Harare, to report once every week to the police and to surrender title deeds for his house.

The former minister, who was represented by Alec Muchadehama, approached the High Court for bail after abandoning his request at the magistrates’ courts, saying that his case was being handled unfairly at the lower court.

Undenge was jailed after the State proved that sometime in January 2016, Zanu PF Member of Parliament Psychology Maziwisa and broadcaster Oscar Pambuka brought a letter to ZPC from the former minister directing the company to work with Fruitful Communications at intervals of six months per engagement.

It was further said in court that on March 8, 2016, Maziwisa and Pambuka — intending to defraud ZPC — presented to Fadzai Chisveto, a public relations executive at ZPC, an invoice claiming they had hosted various programmes on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, National FM and Power FM.

It was ruled this prejudiced ZPC of $12 000.

But in his appeal, Undenge said Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya, who convicted him, erred in his findings. “The court a quo further erred and misdirected itself by convicting the Appellant for merely signing a letter that was dictated to him by Oscar Pambuka, Psychology Maziwisa and Fruitful Communications.

“The court a quo erred and misdirected itself by ignoring that the letter was motivated by Oscar Pambuka, Psychology Maziwisa and Fruitful Communications with an intention to defraud ZPC which actions destroyed appellant’s mens rea and actus reus to commit the offence in question,” Undenge said.

He said none of the essential elements were proven against him, adding that the magistrates’ court placed the onus on him to prove his innocence, when it is the duty of the State to do so.

“The court a quo erred and misdirected itself in imposing a sentence which induces a sense of shock, horror, repulsion and outrage. The court further erred in paying lip-service to the mitigating factors of the appellant and choosing instead to dwell on irrelevant factors that were extraneous the record.

“The court also erred in sentencing appellant for offences he had not committed more particularly in that the court chose to sentence appellant on behalf of corrupt people whom the court said were escaping justice,” he said.

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