JUST IN: Natpharm boss Madzikwa sentenced to 20 months in jail

Former National pharmaceutical (NatPham) boss, Newman Madzikwa will spend the next 14 months behind bars after he was found guilty and convicted of criminal abuse of office charges by a Harare magistrate on Wednesday.

Madzikwa was sentenced to 20 months in prison by Regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya on allegations of hiking health levy fees from four to 15 percent.

His wife was the centre of attraction as she openly wept in court after the sentence was handed down.

 Initially,  Madzikwa had two charges, one of corruption in which he was found not guilty and acquitted at the close of the State’s case and the latest one in which he was convicted after a fully contested trial.

Of the 20 months, six were set aside on condition of good behaviour.

The prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga pleaded with the court to give a stiffer penalty as a way of setting the record straight as corruption was rampant in high offices in government.

“A record must be set that the courts are fighting corruption and the penalty of corruption usually attracts a custodial sentence and if the court choose to act otherwise the general impression will remain that Zimbabwe accepts corruption done by public officers,’’ he said.

The State proved beyond reasonable doubt that Madzikwa, contrary to the requirements, directed his financial manager Roland Mlalazi in a management meeting held on September 3, to effect an 11 percent hike from four to 15 percent which could have potentially caused price hikes of basic drugs to consumers.