New Zimbabwe.com

Jailed Maziwisa, Pambuka granted bail pending appeal

By Court Reporter

JAILED former Zanu PF legislator, Psychology Maziwisa and ZBC broadcaster, Oscar Pambuka were Wednesday granted bail $800 by the same magistrate who took them to jail last week.

The two were caged six years by Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube who found them guilty for defrauding Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) of $12000 after they were favoured with a public relations contract through then energyMinister Samuel Undenge without going to tender.

Ncube released the two on $800 bail each pending High Court appeal on their conviction and sentence.

“In considering bail, this court must consider the delay that may be taken in appeal, which may induce the accused to abscond. However, to note is that nowadays, appeals do not take too long compared to previous years.

“This court agrees with the defence that there might be changes since sentencing is discretionary. The appellants are hereby granted bail…” said the magistrate in passing his ruling.

Pambuka’s wife, Nyasha and the relatives of the two convicts could not hide their joy and had to be reminded of being in contempt by making noise screaming and clapping as the ruling was passed.

The two were ordered to surrender their passports and report once a month at the police as part of their bail conditions.

Pambuka and Maziwisa were serving an effective two and half jail term each after Ncube scrapped part of their sentence conditionally.

They feel that there are prospects of success on appeal claiming they were wrongly convicted and sentenced.

Through their lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, the two told court that their offence attracts a punishment of community service and not custodial sentence.

During trial, prosecutor, Michael Reza proved that the two misrepresented to ZPC that there were directed to do PR for the parastatal.

At that time the company was getting bad publicity over load-shedding.

They said they were doing the project in line with the government’s ZIMASSET program.

However, it was proven that they would go on to read newspaper articles and news bulletins produced by other reporters on ZBC TV where Pambuka was employed on part time basis.

After this, they would go on to claim payment from ZPC knowing that they did not do any work for the company.

ZPC lost $12 000 in the scam and could have lost another $36 000 if the misdemeanours of the two were not unearthed.