Wednesday, 25 July 2018

JAILED UNDENGE APPEALS


FORMER Energy Minister Samuel Undenge, who was last week jailed for an effective two-and-a-half years for abuse of office after he handpicked a public relations company for the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) without going to tender, has said the penalty is excessive and induces a sense of shock and outrage.

He said community service or a fine would have been appropriate. Undenge, through his lawyers Messrs Alec Muchadehama and Dumisani Mthombeni, yesterday appealed against both conviction and sentence at the High Court.

In the notice of appeal, Undenge’s lawyers submitted that the magistrate misdirected himself by ignoring the inconsistencies in the evidence of the State witnesses during trial.

He submitted that the court wrongly convicted him.

“The court erred and misdirected itself in convicting appellant on the basis that he directed ZPC to work with Fruitful Communications without going to tender when in the letter the appellant never said so and when in his mind the work was for free,” submitted the lawyers.

“Further, and in any event, there was no evidence that in the circumstances of the case, ZPC needed to go through tender which, if this was required, ZPC could have gone ahead and gone through the so-called tender procedures.”

The lawyers further argued that the evidence of the State witnesses was “tainted, unreliable and biased” in order to falsely incriminate Undenge.

“The court erred in imposing an effective term of imprisonment when a fine, coupled with community service and a suspended term of imprisonment, would have met the justice of the case,” said the lawyers.

Undenge wants the High Court to quash the conviction and find him not guilty and acquit him.

His lawyers yesterday approached the lower court with intentions to make an application for bail pending appeal.

They appeared before magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya, but the matter was rolled over to today after the State indicated that it had just been given the notice of appeal and needed time to go through it. Herald

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