EX-minister Kagonye released from Chikurubi Female Prison

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By Staff Reporter

FORMER Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Petronella Kagonye is out of jail after serving an effective 16 months behind bars.

Her lawyer Rungano Mahuni confirmed.

Kagonye was jailed in June last year following her conviction over theft of trust property after she converted laptops donated by the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to personal use during her tenure.

The laptops were meant for an e-Learning project put in place to support rural schools by providing vulnerable school children with computers.

She was sentenced to three years in jail before 12 months of her sentence were suspended on condition of good behaviour and a further eight months on condition that she restitutes POTRAZ US$10,000 leaving an effective 16 months jail term.

 The trial court took into account that Kagonye was a cabinet minister at the time and one of her key result areas was to enhance social protection of vulnerable groups in the country but she acted in the contrary.

She however filed appeals saying her sentence was harsh and excessive.

These were turned down by the High Court.

Judges of appeal Justices Rodgers Manyangadze and Benjamin Chikowero dismissed her application, ruling she was properly jailed.

“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.