The Harare Magistrate’s Court on Friday handed a four-year jail term to former Zimbabwean energy and power development minister Samuel Udenge, on charges relating to abuse of office.
Magistrate Hosea Mujaya ruled that Undenge knowingly committed the offence, despite the former minister denying the allegations throughout his trial.
Undenge, a former member of the Robert Mugabe’s cabinet, was being accused of wrongfully directing power utility Zesa Holdings’ subsidiaries to hand-pick a private firm to do public relations consultancy for the power firm.
The consultancy company — Fruitful Communications, which Undenge had recommended to do some work for the Zimbabwe Power Company without going to tender — is jointly owned by a Zanu PF legislator Psychology Maziwisa and former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation employee Oscar Pambuka.
The company quoted US$12,650 for publicity in January 2016, but the firm did not fulfil the obligation.
The former minister will serve two years in prison after one and half years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Undenge becomes the first-high profile person in Zimbabwe to be convicted and jailed over a corruption related offence.
Since coming in on the back of a military coup, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised zero tolerance in his government’s push to punish corruption, which had stifled economic growth under Mugabe’s administration.