Pfumbidzayi to remain behind bars



Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Regional magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni has thrown out a bail application by jailed former Air Zimbabwe secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi, saying there were no prospects of success in her appeal against conviction and sentence on charges of criminal abuse of office.Pfumbidzayi was sentenced to seven effective years by the same magistrate recently.

She has since appealed against both conviction and sentence at the High Court. Pending determination of her appeal, Pfumbidzayi had mounted a bail application at the same court.

Dismissing Pfumbidzayi’s bail application yesterday, Ms Mthombeni ruled that her chances of being acquitted on appeal were slim and that she should serve her prison term.

“While considering an application of this nature, there are certain principles which should be followed and in this case the presumption of innocence has ceased,” she said.

“It should be considered whether there are prospects of success on appeal or not, of which in this case there are no prospects of success. Coupled with fear of abscondment, the application is hereby dismissed.”

The prosecution led by Mr Daniel Muchimbiri had opposed her bail application, arguing that she was likely to abscond if freed.

He said Pfumbidzayi was properly convicted and seantenced, adding that she 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,” he said. “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.”

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

Through her lawyer Mr Andrew Muvirimi of Muvirimi and Associates, she 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 could be imposed.