By Mary Taruvinga
CORRUPTION accused former labour minister Petronella Kagonye has been granted $30 000 by Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje after prosecutors implored court to grant her freedom so she could breastfeed her baby.
She is facing five graft charges which include theft, fraud and criminal abuse of office.
The state did not oppose bail.
“The state is not opposed to bail. The Investigating Officer Gilbert Kanyore said he is convinced that the accused will not abscond if granted bail.
“The state has also noted that the accused is breastfeeding a seven-month-old baby and the child cannot be punished for the alleged misdeeds of the mother. It’s only humane that we do so,” said Reza.
The magistrate upheld the submissions by the state.
Reza had suggested that Kagonye pays $30 000 bail, continue residing at her Goromonzi farm, surrender her passport, not to interfere with witnesses and reports at the police once every Friday.
Kagonye is being charged with four counts of fraud, theft and criminal abuse of office.
On the first count, the complainant is Vaduku Housing Cooperative represented by its secretary Zvanezuro Ngonidzashe.
It is alleged that sometime in February 2014, Kagonye approached the cooperative and informed members she owned a piece of land at Solomio Farm, yet it belonged to ZB bank.
She went on to tell the cooperative members that she had offered them the land for residential stands.
According to the state outline, Kagonye then informed members to pay US$10 per square metre and the value of a stand would be determined by size.
It is alleged that during the same period, Kagonye received US$20 000 from Porte Rodgers the chairperson of the cooperative.
On June 12, 2014 she received a further US$14 000 through a bank transfer to her company Glorious Real Estates and another US$4 500 in June 2015.
The cooperative suffered total prejudice of US$38 500.
It was further alleged that between June 2018 to July last year, Kagonye wrote to then Information minister Supa Mandiwanzira requesting computers to donate to schools in Goromonzi South.
On June 20, 2018, Mandiwanzira then wrote to Potraz requesting facilitation of the donations through its e-learning project to Goromonzi South schools.
Potraz donated the computers to Kagonye which were collected by her brother Evans Kagonye on her behalf and he signed the collection form.
Potraz made a follow-up on the donation with Kagonye’s brother and constituency officer but up to date the computers cannot be accounted for.
Kagonye allegedly used the same modus operandi and fleeced Shingiriro Housing cooperative of US$48 500 and a further US$148 500 received from Solomon Mujuru Housing Cooperative after selling them another piece of land belonging to ZB bank.
The ex-minister allegedly now connived with Nyangui Housing Trust and also defrauded Ruwa residents US$40 000 after misrepresenting that she owned Cloverdale Farm in Goromonzi.
On the criminal abuse of office charge, Kagonye allegedly allocated Alderly farm to her son, Ishmael Kagonye, who was a minor at the time in contravention of government policy.
She will be back in court on March 30, 2020.