Ex-cabinet minister Samuel Undenge will now spend an effective two-and-a-half years behind bars after he was sentenced for controversially handpicking a company owned by ex-Zanu PF legislator Psychology Maziwisa and former ZBC news anchor Oscar Phambuka in a tender scam which happened in 2016.
Initially, Undenge had been sentenced to four years in prison before one-and-a-half years were suspended on condition that he does not commit the same offence.
In 2016, Undenge who was Energy and Power Development minister, handpicked Maziwisa and Phambuka’s media consultancy company to do work for power utility Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) without going to tender.
The former minister’s lawyer Aleck Muchadehama had proposed a $50 fine or community service but prosecutors argued that jailing Undenge was going to discourage would-be corrupt Government officials.
“The accused’s blameworthiness in circumstances is very high. He was a good steward and he was a minister in a portfolio that involved anti-corruption,” said Jonathan Murombedzi who prosecuted.
“He knew well that stooping so low in doing business with Oscar Pambuka and Psychology Maziwisa was unlawful. The fact that they went to him after payments from ZPC stopped meant that he knew what was going on,” he said.
He also added that Maziwisa and Phambuka had turned Undenge’s office into their playground.
Maziwisa, a former Highfields legislator, fell out of favour in Zanu PF as he was linked with the mutilated G40 cabal then fronted by former First Lady Grace Mugabe