By Thandiwe Garusa
JAILED former mines secretary, Francis Gudyanga’s application challenging conviction and sentence has been dismissed by Justice Benjamin Chikowero.
Gudyanga had appealed against both conviction and sentence, arguing he did not steal from the state as accused.
He was jailed by Harare magistrate, Barbara Chimboza, who suspended part of his sentence on condition he restitutes the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) a total of US$25 228.
Gudyanga was convicted on charges of fraud after receiving US$28 910 board member fees from MMCZ for three years despite its absence.
In passing the ruling, Chikowero said Gudyanga deserved the sentence.
“We do not accept that the sentence of four years imprisonment, eighteen months of which were suspended on condition of restitution, is manifestly harsh and excessive as to induce a sense of shock.
“The appellant was afforded an opportunity to undergo only two and half years imprisonment if he restituted. The sentence compares favourably with that imposed in Undenge v State HH 222/18,” Chikowero said.
Chikowero justified Gudyanga’s sentence saying any corrupt individual is a danger to the community.
“Sentencing is a matter of discretion. We are satisfied that the learned magistrate judicially exercised her discretion by balancing the mitigating and aggravating circumstances. She gave sound reasons for excluding a non-custodial sentence.
“She referred to pertinent case law on sentencing in corruption cases. These include Undenge (supra) and State v Chogugudza 1996(1) ZLR 28(SC). In respect of the latter the passage relied on was this:
“Any form of corruption is rightly viewed by the courts with abhorrence. It is a dangerous and insidious evil in any country, particularly in a developing one. It is difficult to detect and more so to eradicate.
“If unchecked or inadequately punished, it will disadvantage society by depriving it of good, fair and orderly administration. Deterrence and public indignation are the factors which must predominate above all others in the assessment of the appropriate penalty.