Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Harare regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya has temporarily suspended the restitution of 1 800 litres of fuel to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) by its former finance director, Simon Taranhike, who was recently freed on $2 000 bail, pending his appeal.
Taranhike was found guilty of abusing a Zinara fuel facility by authorising the issuance of 1 800 litres of petrol coupons to ZBC journalist Davison Vandira in April 2019 without following due procedure.
He was jailed for 15 months for criminal abuse of office last year.
As part of his sentence, he was ordered to pay back the 1 800 litres of fuel to Zinara before December 31 last year.
His actions are said to have prejudiced his employer of fuel then worth $6 354.
In his application for temporary suspension of restitution pending appeal, Taranhike, through his lawyer Mrs Purity Chikangaise, told the court that it is common cause that criminal appeals in the High Court take months or years to be determined.
Mrs Chikangaise argued that there is practically no way the applicant’s appeal will be determined before completion of restitution deadline.
“The complainant stands to suffer irreparable harm should the instant application be granted as it is common cause that the applicant did not personally benefit from the said fuel and equally the value of fuel has been shielded from loss of value as it is in fuel coupons,” read part of the application.
Mrs Chikangaise further stated that the ruling by Justice Paul Siyabonga Musithu is self-explanatory and concludes that there are high prospects of success on appeal on both sentence and conviction.
She argued that it is likely that the decision of the lower court will be overturned on appeal.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya initially sentenced Taranhike to 30 months in prison before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour.
Another nine months were suspended on condition that Taranhike paid back the 1 800 litres of fuel to Zinara before December 31 last year.
Taranhike’s appeal will now be heard at the High Court at a date to be advised by the court’s registrar.