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Ex-minister granted bail

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Tarisai Machakaire

SENIOR STAFF WRITER

machakairet@dailynews.co.zw

FORMER Labour minister Petronella Kagonye, who is facing a slew of corruption allegations involving land deals, has been released on bail.

The alleged deals include the allocation of Alderly Farm in Arcturus to her then minor son.

Kagonye appeared before Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje facing four counts of fraud, theft and criminal abuse of office.

She was granted $30 000 bail on humanitarian grounds after prosecutor Michael Reza considered that she was breast-feeding a seven-month-old baby.

As part of her bail conditions, Kagonye was ordered to surrender her passport, not to interfere with witnesses and investigations, reside at the given address and report once a week to the police. The matter was remanded to March 30.

“The State is consenting to the granting of bail of the accused person. The investigating officers have submitted that she is a good candidate for bail and they do not believe that she is a flight risk,” Reza said.

“The accused person is breastfeeding her seven-month-old baby and purely on humanitarian grounds the child should not be made to suffer because of the alleged misdeeds of the mother. Stringent bail conditions will cover any fears that the State might have.”

According to Reza, the first complainant is Vaduku Housing Cooperative represented by its secretary Zvanezuro Ngonidzashe.

Sometime in February 2014, Kagonye allegedly approached the cooperative and informed them that she owned land at Solomio Farm yet it belonged to a commercial bank.

The court heard she offered the cooperative members the land for residential stands.

Kagonye then allegedly informed members to pay US$10 per square metre. She allegedly received US$20 000 from Porte Rodgers, the chairperson of the cooperative.

On June 12, 2014, she reportedly received a further US$14 000 through a bank transfer to her company Glorious Real Estates and another US$4 500 in June 2015.

The cooperative suffered total prejudice of US$38 500.

It is also alleged that between June 2018 and July last year, Kagonye wrote to then Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira requesting computers to donate to schools in Goromonzi South.

On June 20, 2018, Mandiwanzira wrote to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) requesting facilitation of the donations through its e-learning project to Goromonzi South schools.

The court heard that Potraz donated the computers to Kagonye which were collected by her brother Evans Kagonye on her behalf and he signed the collection form.

It was alleged that Potraz made a follow-up on the donation with Kagonye’s brother and constituency officer, but the computers could not be accounted for.

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