‘Pfumbidzayi a flight risk’

Grace Pfumbidzayi

Grace Pfumbidzayi

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
THE prosecution is opposed to granting bail to jailed former Air Zimbabwe secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi because it fears she might abscond.

Pfumbidzai is seeking bail pending appeal at the High Court.

The prosecutor Mr Daniel Muchimbiri said Pfumbidzayi was properly convicted and sentenced.

He said Pfumbidzayi should be grateful that the court did not impose a maximum penalty.

Mr Muchimbiri said Pfumbidzayi was cunning and very calculative and might do anything to achieve her objective.

“The applicant is not grateful that the court was lenient with her.

“The maximum penalty provision is 15 years and she only got seven years which is less than half of the term. She is very cunning and very calculative such that she can do anything to achieve her objective as shown by her shading of crocodile tears when she was convicted,” he said.

Pfumbidzayi is seeking bail pending her appeal against both conviction and sentence at the High Court.

She wants the High Court to quash the conviction.

Pfumbidzayi offered to pay $10 000 bail. She was jailed together with former Airzim chief executive Peter Chikumba.

Pfumbidzayi, through her lawyer Mr Andrew Muvirimi of Muvirimi and Associates, said the sentence did not consider her rights.

She said if her facts were well argued and articulated on appeal, the option of a fine provided for in the penalty provision, could be imposed.

He said Pfumbidzayi was still facing a fraud charge and would be summoned to court anytime.

“Your Worship, the applicant is connected abroad.

“The State fears that she will flee from the jurisdiction of this court. The fact that she still has a fraud charge to answer to will induce her to abscond. It is improper to let convicted persons walk in the streets instead of serving their jail terms. Society would lose faith in the justice system.

“The right message should be sent to the society at large.

“It is not a secret that funds are being siphoned from public institutions hence sentences imposed should deter all other executives in influential positions who will be awarding tenders to undeserving companies,” he said.

The State also argued that it was proved in court that Pfumbidzayi was the author of the letter which appointed Navistar.

Navistar was appointed without going to tender.

Mr Muchimbiri said it was proved that terms indicated by Navistar were illegal and fraudulent. Pfumbidzayi also failed to account for the money paid to Navistar.

Regional magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni will hand down ruling on Wednesday.