JAILED former Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga yesterday said he would appeal in the High Court against both his conviction and 30- month effective sentence for corruptly receiving sitting allowances for the board of the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) while that board was not in place.
Through his lawyer Mr Norman Mugiya, he filed his notice to appeal against his conviction and sentence at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts moments after his sentence. Harare magistrate, Mrs Barbra Chimboza, had sentenced him to four years in jail before setting aside 18 months on condition that he pays back the US$25 225 he received in sitting allowances from the defunct board. In his notice of appeal, Gudyanga said even if his conviction was upheld, the sentence should have been two years with 18 months suspended on condition that he did not commit a similar offence and the final six months suspended on condition he repaid the allowances he received within one month of the date of sentence.
This would mean that if he paid back the money he would do no jail time. His main ground of appeal against conviction is that the court relied on bank statements showing the inflow of the US$25 228 but that there was no evidence led that this money came from the MMCZ as board fees. The second ground was that the conviction was for receiving US$25 228, but the original charge had a different sum. His third ground was that his co-accused who was acquitted at the close of the State’s case, former Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa, was his principal who assigned the duties, approved payments and appointed Gudyanga to do the duties of the board chairperson of MMCZ.
He argues that he could not be convicted once the then minister was cleared. He also said that the court erred when it ordered him to pay back the money in United State dollars contrary to Statutory Instrument 33/2019 and the provisions of Finance Act.Herald.