Chief Court Reporter
The High Court has postponed hearing the application by former Air Zimbabwe chief executive Peter Chikumba for extension of bail until the determination of his fresh appeal at the Supreme Court.
Chikumba and his co-accused Grace Pfumbidzayi, the airline’s former corporate secretary, last week lost their appeals against both conviction and seven-year jail terms.
Justice Priscillah Munangati-Manongwa deferred the hearing to next week on Tuesday to allow the prosecution to file its response to the defence application.
Chikumba, who is contesting the High Court decision, wants to remain out of custody on $2 000 bail, coupled with stringent conditions.
Pfumbidzayi, who is being represented by Advocate Webster Chinamhora, yesterday filed her notice and grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court.
She is also seeking to have her bail extended pending the finalisation of her fresh appeal at the superior court.
Last week, the duo lost their appeals to set aside both the conviction and sentence imposed on them by the magistrates’ court.
Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who argued the appeal in the High Court last week, came out guns blazing following the High Court ruling which threw out the pair’s appeals without hearing the argument on merits.
Justice Edith Mushore ruled that there was no valid appeal before the court, as the grounds of appeal were not clear and specific.
But Adv Mpofu attacked the entire judgement, accusing the High Court of losing its senses by holding that his client, Chikumba, could be barred in his own appeal and in making an outrageous costs award in a criminal appeal without laying a basis for making such an award.
He implored the superior court to quash the High Court decision and allow Chikumba’s appeal and possibly order for the matter to be tabled again before the High Court for hearing on the substance before a different judge.
Chikumba and Pfumbidzayi were convicted and jailed seven years each for criminal abuse of duty under the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act.
The High Court has since made a finding that a charge of criminal abuse of duty is only applicable to public officers as defined in the country’s statutes and Air Zimbabwe is a private entity.