Lawyer vows appeal as ex-minister Undenge sent to Chikurubi

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By Court Reporter

FORMER cabinet minister Samuel Undenge was sent to Chikurubi maximum security prison on Friday as his lawyer vowed to appeal at High Court his conviction for fraud.

Defence attorney Alec Muchadehama gave the notice of appeal after Undenge was sentenced to four years in jail by Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya following conviction for criminal abuse of office.

Muchadehama said considering the circumstances, the only option was to approach the High Court to challenge Mujaya’s decision as his client was innocent.

“Real criminals are roaming free in the streets,” he said.

“It’s on record that the Vice President’s wife was given a contract also without going to tender and an official from the president’s office confirmed that under oath before this court.”

In response, the State led by prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi and Oscar Madhume said Undenge should only concentrate on his fate and not worry about other people.

“The accused should not worry himself with issues of other corrupt people. Justice will soon catch up with them.

“He (Undenge) should appreciate that he broke the law and the trust with the people of the country.

“He should think about himself and apologise to the nation than continuing to erode the trust.”

During trial, the former energy minister told court that he was misled by the owners of Fruitful Company – Oscar Pambuka and Psychology Maziwisa – who made him to write a letter authorising their firm carry out public relations activities for ZESA subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company.

Undenge alleges that the two claimed it was a directive from the president’s office so he simply complied.

The ex-minister also told court that he was under a lot pressure because of bad publicity in his ministry and companies that were under his ministry.

However, Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya found him guilty of abusing his powers as a minister.

He sentenced him to four years imprisonment. The minister will serve half the sentence after two years were conditionally suspended.