A high court in Zimbabwe has ruled that the former CEO and company secretary of Zimbabwe’s national carrier, Peter Chikumba and Grace Pfumbidzayi will each serve seven-year jail imposed on them for swindling the airline of $10 million.
According to the Herald Newspaper, Chikumba, who was the airline’s CEO, and former company secretary Pfumbidzai, were found guilty of criminal abuse of office.
The court dismissed appeals by the pair’s lawyers, saying they were fatally defective.
“The legal position is that if the original notices of appeal are defective, then there is no appeal before the court. If there is no appeal before the court, then the matter ends there.” The Judge was quoted by the publication.
Pfumbidzai and Chikumba had earlier appealed against both conviction and sentence, arguing that they were wrongly convicted and the sentence was excessive.
Charges against the two arose after an anomaly was discovered by former Air Zimbabwe board pertaining to amounts paid between April 2009 and April 2013 to a company called Navistar Insurance Brokers (Private) Limited in respect of aviation insurance premiums.
They also inflated aviation insurance premiums payments made to Colemont Reinsurance Brokers (Private) Limited and Reinsurance Brokers (Private) Limited, both United Kingdom-based companies.
The firm released €15 452,93 to Navistar, €10 607 859,22 to the two British companies, while they pocketed €5 895 695,49.