Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) acting chief executive Moses Juma, who was facing criminal abuse of office charges, was yesterday jailed for an effective two years. Juma was first arrested in 2016, but was released from police custody at the instigation of then Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
The former VP allegedly stormed Avondale Police Station and ordered the release of Juma and Davison Norupiri.
The duo was later rearrested and Norupiri was made an accomplice witness.
Representing the prosecution, Mr Chris Mutangadura urged the court to send Juma to jail, saying he committed a serious offence.
He said such cases were prevalent and a deterrent sentence was necessary.
Mr Mutangadura said with the new dispensation calling for zero tolerance to corruption and related criminal activities, a strong message should be send to would-be offenders.
“Your Worship, the new dispensation is now viewing corruption as a cancer that needs to be exorcised from the society and that the penalty must deter would be offenders,” he said.
“A clear message has to be sent out that crime does not pay.”
Magistrate, Mr Hoseah Mujaya concurred with the State, saying corruption should not be treated as a normal game.
He sentenced Juma to 30 months behind bars before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour.
Juma was convicted after a full trial. Mr Mutangadura proved that sometime in 2014, Zinara had a tax obligation with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority of $15 418 133, 61 and as a result the tax authority garnished $5 714 587, 25, leaving a balance of $9 703 546,36.
A report was made to the Zinara board by management for guidance to reduce the tax obligations.
The Zinara board tasked the finance committee to engage a tax consultancy firm to help reduce the obligations.