Former Minister Kagonye Acquitted On Housing Stands Swindle Charges

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER cabinet minister Petronella Kagonye has been acquitted of two of the three counts of criminal abuse of office at the close of state case Wednesday.

She will proceed to defence hearing after the court ruled she has a case to answer with regards to one charge she is accused of personalising 20 computers donated to her constituency by the Postal and Telecommunication Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

Kagonye was accused of swindling Shingiriro Housing Cooperative of US18 000 after she allegedly received money promising them residential stands.

However, the court ruled there was insufficient evidence to build a case against her.

Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti ruled that the matter crumbled because there was no bookkeeper to record the transactions.

She ruled that the availability of the bookkeeper was critical in the investigations and the evidence of Joyce Chiroodza, the complainant, was not enough to sustain the allegations.

The magistrate said the documents of the co-operative were also not enough.

Some of the State witnesses also withdrew allegations against Kagonye saying they were coerced to lie against her.

Muchuchuti said Kagonye should however explain how the donated computers ended up with her brother Evans, who did not depose an affidavit except verbally stating that he handed them to his sister’s secretary.

The magistrate postponed the matter to April 19 for the defence to outline its case.