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Jailed former mines ministry perm sec’s appeal hearing delayed

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By Lisa Nyanhongo 


JAILED former Mines secretary, Francis Gudyanga, told the High Court Thursday that he has more points to add on to his appeal against conviction and sentence resulting in the hearing being pushed to a later date.

The hearing is now set for July 27 to allow his lawyer to refresh his heads of argument.

The case will be heard before Justice Benjamin Chikowero.

Gudyanga is serving two and half years for abusing his duties as a public officer.

He was caged for four years by a Harare magistrate, Barbara Chimboza, in February this year with the court suspending part of the sentence on condition he restitutes the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) a total of US$25 228.

The professor was convicted on charges of fraud after receiving US$28,910 board member fees from MMCZ for three years despite the fact that the board had not been constituted.

Gudyanga was charged alongside former mines minister, Walter Chidakwa, who was however, acquitted at the close of the State’s case.

The court heard that sometime in December 2013, Chidakwa corruptly dissolved the MMCZ board and proceeded to illegally appoint Gudyanga to act as the board’s only member.

Over a three year period, Gudyanga received varying payments monthly for board meetings which were never held.

In his notice of appeal filed earlier through his lawyer Norman Mugiya, Gudyanga said he would appeal against both conviction and sentence.

Gudyanga said even if his conviction was upheld, the sentence was too stiff and should have been two years with 18 months suspended on condition he repaid the allowances he received within one month of the date of sentence.

His main ground of appeal was that the court relied on bank statements showing the inflow of the US$25 228, but the original charge had a different amount.

He also complained that his co accused, who was his boss, Chidakwa, was acquitted at the close of state’s case, yet he was the one who assigned him the duties, approved payments and appointed him to be board chairperson of MMCZ.

Gudyanga also said the lower court erred in ordering him to pay the money in US currency, contrary to SI 33/2019 and the provisions of finance Act.