HIGH Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda last week granted former Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) board chairman Stanley Kazhanje bail pending appeal after making a determination that his prospects of success on appeal were very high.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Last month, Kazhanje’s attempt to outfox the justice system by applying for bail while in the comfort of his home, backfired when Justice Kwenda picked the anomaly and ordered his incarceration.
The former ZPC boss was convicted by a Harare regional magistrate on charges of abuse of office for allegedly taking a US$10 000 bribe from businessman Wicknell Chivayo to act as an “inside man” for his Intratrek company which had been awarded a US$172 million tender to build a 100 megawatt solar power plant in Gwanda.
In September this year, Kazhanje did not surrender himself to police when his appeal against a three-year jail sentence was struck off the roll by the court because it had been deemed defective and bad at law.
Instead, he filed a fresh bail application from home and misrepresented that he was in custody.
But Justice Kwenda, who presided over the application, became suspicious and enquired from his lawyers if Kazhanje was indeed in custody.
However, Kazhanje’s lawyers told the court that their client was in custody, but dissatisfied with the response, the judge requested them to bring him to court from prison, but prison authorities confirmed Kazhanje was out of custody prompting the court to order his incarceration.
In his fresh bail application, Kazhanje argued that the same court had previously released him on bail pending appeal after finding that he was a suitable candidate.
In his determination, Justice Kwenda ruled in his favour.
“At the hearing of this application, I disclosed to the appellant (Kazhanje)’s counsel my reluctance to readmit the appellant to bail pending appeal in view of his prior conduct and reluctance to hand himself in when his appeal was determined,” Justice Kwenda said, adding that he had nonetheless considered other factors.
“I will exercise my discretion in the appellant’s favour and admit him to bail in light of the fact that Justice (Amy) Tsanga had already determined that the appellant has an arguable case on appeal.”
Kazhanje, was serving his sentence at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison when he was granted $1 000 bail by the High Court last year.
The court heard that Kazhanje was paid the money to stop the ZPC board from cancelling the tender.
However, in his appeal Kazhanje claimed the money was paid for past engineering consultancy services he performed for Intratrek.