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Please dont jail me l am old: ex perm sec Proff Gudyanga pleads in court

Gudyanga who was represented by Norman Mugiya had filed a written mitigation to magistrate Barbara Chimboza yesterday.
By Desmond Chingarande Former secretary for mines professor Francis Gudyanga who was convicted for Criminal abuse of office after he received boarding fees for meeting done with himself has asked the court for a lenient sentence saying he is now old  and imprisonment will be a death sentence for him. Gudyanga who was represented by Norman Mugiya had filed a written mitigation to magistrate Barbara Chimboza yesterday. “The accused is now aged 75 years old and he is clearly an advanced senior citizen who will be broken down by a custodial sentence. This is a case where the sentence which meets the offender will be a non-custodial sentence. It is proposed that the court considers a suspended imprisonment term coupled with a fine of level 8,”Mugiya submitted for his client. Mugiya said Gudyanga is prepared to restitute monies he received as boarding fees to Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe. “In the worst case scenario, the court can consider a sentence of community service so that the accused can be committed to labour which will suit his age. The accused is also of ill health to the extant that he has been in and out of hospital. The conditions in the prison will definitely be a death sentence to him. He suffers from a heart condition which is cancer related. He is on persistent medication.” Mugiya said the court must consider the fact that the money which were allegedly paid to him were at the instance of his superior and employer. He said he did not steal the money nor took it by force or through uncouth means but they were approved to him for the duties he executed which were the duties of the functions of the board of MMCZ. “It will be unfair to punish him as if he cheated his employer and demanded monies which were not due to him. The position for which he was paid for was appointed by the employer and he did not employ himself,” he submits. Mugiya said Gudyanga served government for over 35 years and has been loyal to government which will be an incentive. “The accused is a family man with four children, one of which is still going to school. She is at the university and relies on her father, the accused, for her welfare and wellbeing. The accused is married and he is the sole, breadwinner. He had no valuable assets in his name other than a farm in Macheke which is on government offers letter.” But the state said represented by Michael Chakandida and Tapiwa Godwin said corrupt practices by a public officer are by their nature serious. “Accused was in a position of authority. It was his duty to ensure that the operations of public entities such as Minerals Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe are undertaken lawfully and in terms of the relevant rules and regulations. He had an obligation to uphold the law as the accounting officer and to exhibit impeccable honesty and integrity. The accused rather demonstrated a high degree of dishonesty in his capacity as the Permanent Secretary,” prosecutors said. “He is not even contrite. He even kept on changing his version of the story. In his defence outline; he admitted that he received the money for the work he said he did on behalf of the board. In his defence case, he then dramatically changed and asserted that he never received any money. This shows that he was not being honesty with the court. He showed no remorse neither did he show any contrition.” “This was not expected especially from senior citizens of the country. When the offence was committed, accused was in his sixties. He was supposed to set a good example to the young generation.” The prosecutors said corruption should be viewed with abhorrence and calls for imprisonment unless there are cogent reasons to the contrary. “We urge the court to impose a fair sentence which is fair to the state, the accused and the circumstances of the case. Corruption is a cancerous and should be eradicated from society. A message should be send that courts do not condone corruption. Thus a state thinks a sentence of 6 years imprisonment and 3 years suspended would meet the justice of the case in this matter,” the state submitted. Magistrate Chimboza will deliver sentence this Friday.

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