JAILED former principal director of State Residences Douglas Tapfuma will appeal while serving his four-year prison term, after the High Court yesterday rejected his bid for bail pending appeal.
Tapfuma was jailed four years and had six vehicles forfeited to the State after he was convicted on three counts of criminal abuse of office.
He was appealing against both conviction and sentence.
Tapfuma wanted the court to free him on bail pending appeal, but Justice Pisirayi Kwenda rejected the application on the basis that Tapfuma “does not have a reasonably arguable case on appeal”.
“The appellant has failed to point to errors that are likely to carry the day at his appeal, if he is, likely to succeed partially, say against sentence only, the likely delay before the appeal if heard becomes relevant,” said Justice Kwenda.
“In the results, I order the appeal against refusal of bail be and is hereby dismissed.”
In his grounds of appeal, Tapfuma feared that his appeal would take long before it is heard, but Justice Kwenda allayed the fears.
He said the prejudice likely to be occasioned by the systemic delays in the setting down of appeals was no longer a persuasive argument in cases of bail pending appeal.
“Appeals are no longer being delayed,” said Justice Kwenda, with authority as a judge who sits in criminal appeals court that is now dealing with current and recent appeals filed in the second half of last year and those filed this year.
Justice Kwenda also sits in the Anti-Corruption Court of the High Court.
The court convenes without delay once all the cases are ready and it has no backlog, hence the judge said it was up to Tapfuma to request a set down of his appeal.
On sentence, Justice Kwenda noted that Tapfuma’s legal counsel conceded that his client abused his authority in a highly regarded executive office and said people who work in that office could easily escape public audit.
“People who abuse that office can easily get away with wrongdoing,” he said.