Wednesday 3 May 2023


FORMER Cabinet minister Petronella Kagonye has completed her 16-month jail term for theft of trust property, her lawyer Rungano Mahuni confirmed yesterday.

Kagonye was jailed in June 2022 for having converted laptops donated by the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to personal use during her time in office.

The laptops were meant to support rural schools under the e-learning project.

She was sentenced to three years in jail, but 12 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour.

A further eight months were suspended on condition that she reimburses Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe US$10 000, leaving her with an effective 16-month jail term.

The court took into account the fact that she committed the offence while she was the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

The court said one of her key result areas was to enhance social protection of vulnerable groups in the country, but she acted in the contrary.

Kagonye never rested after she was jailed complaining that her sentence was harsh and excessive.

She filed several applications which were all turned down by the High Court.

Her last appeal in October last year was dismissed by judges of appeal, Justices Rodgers Manyangadze and Benjamin Chikowero.

“The sentence does not shock us. If anything, it appears to err on the side of leniency. But that is beside the point,” said the judges.

They said Kagonye was the best person to have appreciated the need to take the laptops to rural schools as a way of removing some of the barriers to accessing education Newsday


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