Ex-Minister Kagonye CONVICTED, to be sentenced today

09 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Ex-Minister Kagonye CONVICTED, to be sentenced today Petronella Kagonye

H-Metro

Zvikomborero Parafini

FORMER Labour and Social Welfare Minister Petronella Kagonye is set to be sentenced today after she was convicted of theft of trust property yesterday.

Kagonye was remanded in custody following her conviction.

The laptops which she stole were meant to be donated to schools in her constituency in Goromonzi.

Kagonye, who pleaded not guilty when the trial opened, was convicted by Harare regional magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro, after a full trial.

In analysing the evidence, Magistrate Guwuriro said it was common cause that she received the laptops and she didn’t distribute them as instructed by POTRAZ.

“It’s common cause that Kagonye received the 20 laptops which were handed over to Cathrine Befura her PA, who gave them to Matimura who was part of the campaign team.

“The question that the court had to deal with was whether the laptops were given under trust or were they a donation to assist her to her campaign and whether or not they were trust as in was it property which she was meant to account for.

“The computers were being given under the e-learning programme and the Ministry of ICT handover form indicated that the beneficiary had to submit it after 30 days, with the list of recipients.

“She had the duty to account for the laptops and provide the list to POTRAZ, according to her, she said the laptops were to be given to the needy and she wasn’t actively involved in the distribution.

“She never insisted on the need to account for the beneficiaries and claimed that the obligation never existed and it appears that out of ignorance she never signed the handover form as required.

“The court doesn’t believe that she didn’t know that she had the obligation to submit the names of beneficiaries to POTRAZ, an organisation that deals with public funds, the letter by Minister (Supa) Mandiwanzira requested for computers for various schools.

“Her testimony was filled with inconsistencies and her testimony is not to be fully believed, her explanation is not reasonable in the circumstances, and she is found guilty,” she said.

In aggravation, prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga said Kagonye was convicted of stealing public funds and should be jailed.

“Accused has been convicted of stealing public funds, which is a very serious offence, and Zimbabwe’s ranking on corruption is very bad and the reputation from misappropriating public funds is very bad. These laptops were meant for rural schools in Goromonzi South, where the poorest of the poor learn, and she was responsible for social welfare.

“The people of Zimbabwe had entrusted the welfare of the poor into her hands and she was the last hope of the poor and she took advantage of that trust and stole from the poor.

“I’ve not seen it in our society that a Minister responsible for the poor steals from the poor and it’s a sad day indeed.

“The rural areas can be developed when the children are exposed to technology instead of stealing from them.

“They are not even remorseful, there’s no evidence as to who got the laptops,” he said.

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