Judgement reserved in jailed ex-minister Kagonye’s bail appeal

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By Lisa Nyanhongo 

HARARE: The High court has reserved judgement in a case where former labour and social welfare minister Petronella Kagonye is seeking bail pending appeal.

Kagonye is currently serving three years following conviction for diverting to personal use some 20 laptops donated by the Postal Telecommunication  Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)  to schools in her constituency.

Kagonye, through her lawyer Rungano Mahuni, sought bail pending her appeal against conviction and sentence.

Mahuni said his client is likely to succeed on appeal.

“Our client has a right to bail pending appeal. It would be prejudicial to remain locked if at the end she would be found not guilty.” he said.

“There are possibilities of success in the appeal.”

However, the State argued that Kagonye cannot be granted bail pending appeal because evidence against her is overwhelming and she might skip the country.

Prosecutors also said the applicant was unlikely to succeed with her appeal hence should remain locked up.

They submitted that the seriousness of her offence led to conviction and she may decide not to come for trial or flee.

The State proved that Kagonye received the donated laptops which and gave them to her brother.

Upon being asked about the whereabouts of the computers, Kagonye failed to explain how the donated computers ended up with her brother Evans who did not even depose an affidavit except verbally stating that she handed them to his sister’s secretary.

Kagonye is however, serving an effective two years after Harare magistrate Vongai Guwuriro Muchuchuti suspended one year of her sentence on condition of good behaviour.

Of the remaining two years, eight months were suspended on condition that she pays US$10,000 to POTRAZ because students still have to benefit from the donation.