By Desmond Chingarande
Ex-minister Petronella Kagonye who was accused of theft of trust property after she diverted donated laptops from where they were intended to be delivered has been sentenced to 36 months imprisonment.
In sentencing her, Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro said she took cognizance that the accused was a former minister and the best person to oversee all schools in her constituency benefit but she decided to take the bread away from the hungry children.
“The court take cognisance that the accused was a former minister and she is the best person to see school within her constituency benefiting but she dicided to take the bread away from the hungry children. A crime as such is a problem to democracy and social welfare. The conviction will certainly be severe punishment on its own,” Muchuchuti-Guwuriro ruled.
“With the serious underdevelopment problems the country is facing it is sad that one can steal public funds. The is need for the accused to restitute the value of the computers so that those meant to benefit still benefits.”
Muchuchuti-Guwuriro however suspended 12 months on condition of good behavior, 8 months suspended on restitution of US$10 000 to Potraz and will serve 16 months effective jail term.
In convicting Kagonye, magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro had ruled that the state proved a case against her.
Muchuchuti-Guwuriro said Kagonye had requested a donation of computers to give to Goromanzi schools but no record of the same were given to the schools.
She ruled that the there were no record of who got the large part of computers except only three that were shown to the court.
The court heard that between June 2018 to July 2019 Kagonye wrote to former Information minister Supa Mandiwanzira requesting computers to donate to schools in Goromonzi South.
On June 20, 2018 Mandiwanzira then wrote to Potraz requesting facilitation of the donations through its e-learning project to Goromonzi South schools.
Potraz then donated the computers to Kagonye which were collected by her brother Evans Kagonye on her behalf and he signed the collection form.
Potraz made a follow up on the donation, Kagonye’s brother and constituency officer but up to date the computers cannot be accounted for.