9 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Chombo Bail Relaxation Ruling Deferred

Photo: The Herald
Former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo.

A HARARE court, on Monday, deferred ruling on an application by former cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo seeking relaxation of his bail conditions.

Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa told the former Zanu PF politician that determination would be handed down Wednesday.

Chombo, who is charged with several corruption offences, approached the court last week complaining that his bail conditions were too stringent.

After his arrest, Chombo was later freed on $5,000 bail. He was also ordered to report three times a week at Marlborough Police Station and to surrender his passport and the title deeds to his home.

However, through defence lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, Chombo said the bail conditions were taking toll on his economic and social life.

The former Zanu PF politburo member asked the magistrate to adjust the terms so that he can have time at his farm in Rafingora, explaining that he was now a full-time farmer.

He contends that the court treated him unfairly by giving his co-accused less stringent bail conditions while they face same charges.

Chombo is facing criminal abuse of office charges regarding residential stands he reportedly acquired when he was still local government minister. He also faces fraud allegations dating back to 1996.

The other charges relate to wearing Zanu PF regalia where he is accused together with together with former Zanu PF youth leaders Kudzai Chipanga and Munyaradzi Hamandishe.

He was the first minister to be arrested during military's Operation Restore Legacy operation last November and spent nine days in solitary confinement after allegedly being abducted by soldiers.

The military operation led to the resignation of then president Robert Mugabe. Several other former ministers loyal to the fallen leader have since been arrested in addition to Chombo.

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