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Diesel Theft Minister’s Bail Attempt Flops

By- High Court Judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero has denied former Finance Deputy Minister Terrence Mukupe, his bail pending appeal following his imprisonment for fuel smuggling in February 2017.

Mukupe was among a group of four people jailed for three years after importing over 138 000 litres of diesel into Zimbabwe without paying duty.

The fraud involves misrepresenting the fuel as in transit through Zimbabwe to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mukupe said the High Court had misdirected itself on the facts and evidence.

He claimed the court grossly misdirected itself by basing on circumstantial evidence where the inference of guilt was not the only reasonable inference to be drawn from the facts and evidence.

However, Justice Benjamin Chikowero, dismissed the appeal saying the application was without substance.

The Judge noted that even though Mukupe did not import the diesel, he unlawfully and intentionally connived to import and dodged payment of duty.

“I consider that all the grounds of appeal are without substance. I do not think that there is any real prospect of the court finding differently.

“The court explained why Mukupe is caught in the ambit of being an importer and why it was satisfied that he imported the diesel in question.
“Further, it must always be borne in mind that even if the court had not found that he did not import the diesel, it still made a finding that he unlawfully and intentionally, therefore, assisted in or was an accessory to or connived in the importation of the diesel without payment of duty thereon,” ruled Justice Chikowero.
He said Mukupe’s conviction was not based on circumstantial evidence.
“It is for these reasons that I take the view that the first ground of appeal is frivolous.
“The second ground of appeal not only attacks findings of fact, some of which were based on an assessment of the credibility of all those who testified at the trial, but is erroneous.
“The conviction was not based solely on circumstantial evidence. It rested on a combination of direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. “Consequently, there is not and can be no substance in the second, being an incorrect ground of appeal.”
Justice Chikowero said that even if he could be confident Mukupe wouldn’t abscond, “everything else is against him”.
“He failed to tip the scales in his favour. The application for bail pending appeal against conviction and sentence be and is dismissed.”
Mukupe and drivers, Sam Kapisoriso, Joseph Taderera and Leonard Mudzuto were jailed in November last year following their conviction.-ZimEye

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