Former PetroZim Line (PVT) Limited general manager Cathrine Katsande, who was jailed for an effective 60 months for fraudulently awarding tenders for the supply of equipment worth US$2 million during her tenure, was yesterday granted $20 000 bail pending appeal at the High Court.

Katsande (55) was convicted of six counts of fraud.

Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube said he decided to grant Katsande liberty pending her appeal against conviction and sentence after taking into consideration her age and that she cannot evade the court’s jurisdiction.

Katsande was initially sentenced to 90 months imprisonment before suspending 30 months of the jail term.

The company that was awarded the tenders, Keltrade (Pvt) Limited was fined $53 000 for the same offences.

Messrs Tafara Charimbira and Panganayi Chiutsi representing the State, heard that PetroZim Line (Pvt) Limited was incorporated in 1988 by Lonmin and the then National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) to transport fuel from Mutare through the Feruka pipeline to Msasa in Harare.

According to the company’s tender procedures, goods and services had to be supplied before payment was processed. In exceptional instances, the board finance committee had to first approve payments.

The court heard that on June 24, 2013 Katsande authorised a payment of US$159 925 after Keltrade had submitted a quotation indicating that it had capacity to supply a gearbox for 10 gate valves.

The money was paid before Keltrade supplied the goods.

On September 24 of the same year, she also authorised payment of US$610 640 to Keltrade after it indicated that it had capacity to supply two skid pumps.

Again on December 9, 2013, Katsande advanced US$363 860 after Keltrade presented a quotation indicating that it was able to supply two ethanol centrifugal pumps.

The money was paid before the supply of the pumps.

In February 2015, Katsande also authorised payment of US$91 082 after Keltrade gave her a quotation for the supply of drag resistant spares.

In the same month, Katsande is said to have given permission to payments of various amounts to Keltrade without following laid down procedures.

In March 2015, Katsande was instructed to purchase goods from MIS Solutions, but she disregarded the recommendation and gave the tender to Keltrade.