Former cabinet minister, Samuel Undenge has been jailed to an effective 2 and a half years after being convicted of abuse of office.

Harare regional magistrate, Mr Hosea Mujaya convicted the former Minister of Energy and Power Development after finding him guilty of criminal abuse of office.

Charges against Undenge arose after he allegedly wrote a letter directing the Zimbabwe Power Company to engage Fruitful Communications company to do public relations work without following due processes and in the process prejudicing the state of $12 650 in 2016.

Undenge (62) had initially been slapped with a 4-year term of imprisonment but Mr Mujaya suspended one and half years on condition of good behaviour. 

In passing the judgement, Mr Mujaya ruled that the state proved a prima facie case against Undenge and found that Undenge’s defence submissions which included an accusation that state witness, Ray Dhlukula admitted before the court to flouting tender procedures by issuing a travel agency contract to Mrs Mary Chiwenga where irrelevant.

Mr Mujaya said allegations of Mrs Chiwenga being given a tender without due processes were not before him, neither were Fruitful Communications company owners, Oscar Pambuka and Psychology Mazivisa before him.

The magistrate ruled that Undenge should have knowledge that ZPC was an entity that is bound by the Procurement Act.
He said in any criminal procedure, any document with the signature should be evidence after a vigorous verification but in this case Undenge accepted the ownership of the letter.

In mitigation, Undenge’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama asked the court to be lenient to his client, saying being a first offender and at 62 years of age with 4 children in universities, his client deserved to be pardoned.  

In aggravation, the state represented by Jonathan Murombedzi told court that the convict was a minister supervising an anti-corruption crusade and in being the one who crafted the anti-corruption policy, he should have refused to entertain small people like Pambuka and Mazivisa.

He also said Undenge’s moral blameworthiness is very high and asked the court to prefer a harsher sentence to deter would be offenders.