JAILED former Energy minister Samuel Undenge will have to endure another weekend behind bars after his application seeking to overturn both his conviction and four-year jail term was postponed to Wednesday.
The postponement followed an application by prosecutor Edmore Makoto, who told High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had received the former minister’s application late on Thursday.
“The state is applying for the matter to be postponed to August 1, 2018 to enable it to prepare a response,” he said.
“The reason being that I received the application late and have not had enough time to peruse the voluminous court record of proceedings.”
In response, Undenge’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said although he was ready to proceed with the matter, he was not opposed to the application by the state.
However, he said he needed assurance from the state that it would file its response by Tuesday.
In his bail pending appeal application, Undenge said Zanu PF MP Psychology Maziwisa and broadcaster Oscar Pambuka used him in their plot to defraud the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) of over $12 000.
Undenge said Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya misdirected himself when he convicted him of the offence “for merely signing a letter that was dictated to him by Pambuka and Maziwisa” on behalf of their company, Fruitful Communications.
The former minister said Mujaya also erred in ignoring that the letter, which formed the basis of his conviction, was motivated by Pambuka, Maziwisa and Fruitful Communications with the intention to defraud the power company.
It was the state’s case that sometime in January 2016, Maziwisa and Pambuka took a letter to ZPC from Undenge, directing the power utility to work with their firm at intervals of six months per engagement.
Following Undenge’s letter, the power company engaged the pair.
Undenge (62) is now serving an effective two-and-half years jail term at Chikurubi maximum security prison after Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya suspended one-and-half years on condition of good behaviour.
– The Standard