FORMER Zanu PF legislator Psychology Maziwisa and popular television presenter Oscar Pambuka had their appeal against conviction and sentence for defrauding the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) of US$12 000 dismissed by the High Court last week.
Maziwisa and Pambuka were sentenced to six years imprisonment by Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube in 2018 after they were fraudulently awarded a ZPC public relations contract through then Energy minister Samuel Undenge without going to tender.Ncube released the two on $800 bail each pending High Court appeal on their conviction and sentence.
In doing this, the magistrate considered the delay that may be involved in the appeal, which may induce the accused to abscond.
Ncube, however, ruled that there were chances of success on appeal before granting them bail.
At that time, Pambuka and Maziwisa were serving an effective two-and-half-year jail term each after Ncube suspended part of their sentences conditionally.
They filed an appeal arguing that they were wrongly convicted and sentenced.
Through their lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, the two told the court that their offence attracts a punishment of community service and not a custodial sentence.
They also said their prosecution was politically motivated.During trial, the State proved that the two misrepresented to ZPC that they were directed to provide PR services for the parastatal.
At that time the company was getting bad publicity over load-shedding.
They said they were doing the project in line with government’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation Programme.
However, it was proven that they would read newspaper articles and news bulletins produced by reporters on ZBC TV where Pambuka was employed on a part-time basis.
After this, they would claim payment from ZPC knowing that they did not do any work for the company.
ZPC lost U$$12 000 in the scam.
In dismissing their appeal, judges of appeal, Justices Felistas Chatukuta and Pisirayi Kwenda said: “The merits of the conviction do not arise in an appeal against sentence. In addition to that, the notice of appeal suffers from the defect that it has no prayer with respect to sentence. The appellants have, therefore, not validly appealed against the sentence and conviction.”