The appeal by Muyaba and Mudekunye was brought before Circuit Judges, Clement, Barksdale and Prado under case number 09-109968, but was dismissed.
The Circuit Judges said in a lengthy judgement released by the Fifth Court that addressed Mayaba and Mudekunye’s claims: “Analysis of one or more claims for each is restricted because the review is only for plain error. Muyaba presents two challenges to his convictions, four to his sentence. Each Fails”.
Muyaba (40) had been the Zimbabwe 100m athletics holder for the last 17 years until it was broken in 2009.
The athlete represented Zimbabwe at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics in Seoul and Barcelona respectively. He set his record of 10.15 seconds in 1990.
The former Churchill Boys High School student was convicted of tax fraud in June 2009 with another Zimbabwean, Mudekunye and a US citizen Nichelle Henson, of Como, Texas. They were convicted in June 2009 on various offences related to a conspiracy to defraud the US government by preparing and filing false and fraudulent income tax returns, and profiting from those filings.
Mudekunye was convicted on three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent income tax returns and two counts of using a means of identification of another to commit a federal offence.
Muyaba and Henson were each convicted on six counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent income tax returns.
The government presented evidence at the trial that the defendants, who worked as tax preparers at Reliable Express Tax Service and Reliable Professional Tax Service, at 9203 Skillman Street in Dallas, and two of whom also worked at Efficient Tax Service and/or Proficient Tax Services LLC, conspired together to prepare and file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) individual tax returns, forms 1040 and 1040A, which were false and fraudulent.
In addition, the defendants profited from these fraudulent filings. Another object of their conspiracy was to obtain additional clients by generating favourable word-of-mouth advertising from clients who received unexpected refunds.
Muyaba received a 10-year prison sentence. He testified to being the 100-metre record holder for his country and a former Olympic athlete.
Mudekunye was sentenced to eight years and one month and was ordered to pay back US$422 000. Henson was sentenced to four years.
In his appeal, Muyaba challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions and the court ordering the part of his sentence to run concurrently. Mudekunye was challenging the court’s failure to sever his trial from Muyaba’s and his sentence being procedurally unreasonable but however lost the appeal.
Muyaba is a former Zimbabwe Republic Police Athletics Club sprinter who, way back in 1990, raced into the history books of local athletics, when he ran the fastest 100m by a Zimbabwean.
That historic feat was achieved in June 1990 when Muyaba, then a 20-year-old, romped home first in the 100m event at the Chibuku International Track and Field Championships at the National Sports Stadium in Gaborone, Botswana.
Muyaba clocked an incredible 10,15 seconds, 0,01s faster than the national record set by the legendary “Mhangura Meteor” Artwell Mandaza, 21 years earlier in 1969. Muyaba’s equalled his own record on May 16 1993 in Knoxville, Tennessee in the United States, when he ran 10,15s.
Muyaba represented the country at the Olympics in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992). He later moved to the United States in 1991 on an athletics scholarship. He hung his spikes in 1996 due to a nagging Achilles tendon injury. Muyaba has been based in Dallas, US. He is married to a Zambian has a four-year- old son.