Zimbabwe: Chombo Trial Postponed Pending Challenge

Former minister Ignatius Chombo being escorted into Harare Magistrates court under heavy security from Military police and prison officers during his bail ruling (file photo).
13 August 2020

The trial of former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo on corruption and fraud charges has been postponed to October 30 to allow the Supreme Court to rule on his challenge against dismissal of his application for permanent stay of prosecution.

Chombo is contesting a High Court decision dismissing his application to stop the proceedings at the magistrate's court.

Harare regional magistrate Mr Trynos Utahwashe last week postponed the trial to allow the Supreme Court to rule on the case.

In one of the cases, it is being alleged that on October 1, 2005, Chombo hatched a plan to defraud the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) under its "Other Crops and Livestock Support Facility".

Chombo allegedly applied for a loan amounting to $14 billion, which was to be repaid within 18 months and indicated his address as Allen Grange Farm, Rafingora.

Chombo misrepresented that he was going to use the loan to buy agricultural equipment.

The equipment included a 30-tonne lorry valued at $2 billion, 30-tonne truck valued at $1.5 billion, 200hp tractor four-wheel drive valued at $2.5 billion, combine harvester valued at $5 billion, 52-dish roam disc valued at $1 billion, nine-row monosem planter valued at $1.2 billion, 2x500kg chicken feed mixer valued at $8 million.

The court heard Chombo imported various motor vehicles, including a Toyota Hilux Vigo for his stepdaughter, which was delivered to 222 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare.

Meanwhile, the court has deferred to October 30 another case in which Chombo is jointly charged with ex-Zanu PF youth leaders Kudzanayi Chipanga, Innocent Hamandishe and Mathew Mleya.

In that case, the State alleges that between December 8 and 13, 2017, the three connived to wear ruling party regalia emblazoned with President Mnangagwa's initials ED although they had been expelled from Zanu-PF.

They took photographs of themselves while wearing the regalia, including hats with an embroidered Zanu-PF flag, inscribed "ED" and "Kutonga Kwaro".

The court heard that the four then posted the said photographs on social media.

According to the State, the Zanu-PF leadership saw this as a nuisance.

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