Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Former Cabinet minister Samuel Undenge has fallen on hard times and is struggling to raise money to travel from Chimanimani to Harare every week to report at Highlands Police Station as part of his bail conditions, the court heard yesterday.
The former Energy and Power Development Minister is accused of prejudicing Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) of $12 650.
Undenge appeared before magistrate Ms Tilda Mazhande yesterday and successfully applied for a variation of his bail conditions
Through his lawyer, Mr Alec Muchadehama, Undenge informed the court that he was now into farming in Chimanimani and was finding it difficult to travel to Harare every week due to financial constraints. When he initially appeared in court, Undenge was ordered to report once a week to the police as part of his bail conditions.
“Having to travel every Friday to make a report, is now a burden to him since he is no longer employed,” Mr Muchadehama said.
“He is having challenges in raising money for transport to continue coming to court from Chimanimani where he is now farming. He is job hunting and the reporting condition is an unnecessary burden on his part.”
Mr Muchadehama submitted that his client would not abscond if the bail conditions were scrapped or reduced.
“He is a man of honour and he will not abscond,” he said.
“He has been reporting to the police since January and the State has failed to provide a trial date and it shows that the State has a weak case against him.”
In response, the prosecutor Mr Michael Reza opposed the application for lack of merit, saying there were no changed circumstances.
He submitted that by relocating to Chimanimani, Undenge was in breach of his bail conditions, which entitle him to reside at his Harare house until the matter is finalised.
“Your Worship, the accused person has been coming to court precisely because of those conditions,” said Mr Reza.
“The State is going to give him his trial date on April 3 as ordered by the court.
“On the record, he gave a Harare address and the court ordered him to reside at that address until the matter is finalised.
“So, by moving to Chimanimani and having difficulties in reporting to the police in Harare, surely the accused is in breach of the bail conditions.”
Mr Muchadehama said Undenge had not moved to Chimanimani permanently.
After hearing submissions from both parties, Ms Mazhande said, “Considering that he has been religiously coming to court, the court orders that he reports once a fortnight to the police.”
Undenge will be back in court on April 3.
Meanwhile, University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor Levi Nyagura, who was arrested for allegedly illegally awarding former First Lady Grace Mugabe a PhD, was yesterday back in court for his routine remand.
Nyagura is facing criminal abuse of office charges and he appeared before the same magistrate, who remanded him to March 8. Nyagura is expected to make an application challenging his placement on remand on the next remand date.