Woes continue to mount for the former principal director of State Residences, Douglas Tapfuma after he was yesterday slapped with an effective four-year jail sentence for the three charges of abuse of office he was facing.
On top of the nearly-half-a-decade years he is going to spend behind bars, Tapfuma who has been in remand prison for ten months, also had six vehicles forfeited to the state when he appeared before Harare regional magistrate Esthere Chivasa.
Initially, Chivasa had jailed Tapfuma two years on each of the three counts he was convicted, before suspending two years.
Out of the eight cars which Tapfuma imported using bills of entry exclusively reserved for bringing into the country the President’s personal goods and for the Government thereby evading duty, six were forfeited to the state.
These include a Toyota Hiace, Toyota Alteza, BMW 318i, Nissan Tiida and two Honda Fit vehicles. Two of the cars he imported duty-free were donated to Kwekwe General hospital, based in Tapfuma’s hometown.
In her justifications to the four-year jail term, the magistrate said corrupt practices required detterent pushiment.
Despite Tapfuma’s lawyer Brighton Pabwe pleading for a non-custodial sentence on their client, state prosecutor Sheila Mupindu argued that the acts of the accused were a serious breach of trust that also betrayed the good standing of the Office of the President.
Mupindu had even urged the court to jail the former Midlands Provincial Administrator for an effective five years, saying Tapfuma’s actions derailed calls by authorities to fight the scourge of corruption in the southern African country.
“Corruption is difficult to detect and it is difficult to defeat. He was disrespectful of the Head of State’s call to fight corruption. He was motivated by greed since he had funds to pay the duty,” said Mupindu.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews