High Court Judges Dismiss Former Minister Kagonye's Appeal Against Conviction And Sentence
The High Court Tuesday dismissed former Cabinet minister Petronella Kagonye‘s appeal against conviction and sentence for criminal abuse of office.
Kagonye was jailed for three years by Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro for theft after she converted laptops donated to rural schools by the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to personal use.
Twelve months (12) of her sentence were suspended on the condition of good behaviour. A further eight (8) months were suspended on condition that she restitutes POTRAZ US$10 000.
In her appeal, Kagonye said the sentence was too harsh and excessive.
The High Court judges, Benjamin Chikowero and Rodgers Manyangadze, however, upheld Muchuchuti-Guwuriro’s ruling. They said:
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The appellant, who had the onus to persuade us that the sentence is shocking did not go beyond asserting that the sentence is disturbingly inappropriate.
The sentence does not shock us. If anything, it appears to err on the side of leniency. But that is besides the point.
The trial court took into account the fact that at the time the offence was committed, the appellant was the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Accordingly, one of her key result areas was to enhance social protection of vulnerable groups in the country.
They said Kagonye abused her position of trust and also became an obstacle to social development as she diverted laptops acquired using public funds to her own selfish ends.
Chikowero and Manyangadze said the court was correct in suspending a portion of the sentence on the condition that she pays US$10 000 to POTRAZ.
They said a community service sentence would have sent the wrong message to society.