FORMER Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) finance director Simon Mudzingwa Taranhike has been jailed for 15 months after being found guilty of criminal abuse of office.

Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya initially sentenced Taranhike to 30 months in prison before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour and nine months on condition that he restitutes 1 800 litres of fuel to Zinara before December 31, 2019.

In passing sentence, Mujaya said he took into consideration that Taranhike was a first offender and a family man.

Mujaya said it is true that Taranhike did not directly benefit from the commission of the offence. He further stated that Taranhike lost his job as a result of the offence.

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The court, Mujaya said, could not turn a blind eye on corruption and should pass an exemplary sentence.

Before Mujaya passed sentence, Taranhike’s lawyer Purity Chikangaise, in mitigation, submitted that he should consider that Taranhike is a first offender therefore he is supposed to be treated with lenience.

Chikangaise pleaded with the court to fine Taranhike and make him restitute Zinara.

The State argued that a custodial sentence would be appropriate.

It also proved that Taranhike abused the Zinara fuel facility when he authorised the issuance of 1 800 litres of petrol (Puma) coupons to a State media journalist.

The convict did not follow Zinara procedures, thereby causing his employer to be prejudiced of fuel worth RTGS$6 354, the State argued.