Zimbabwe: Chombo Challenges Placement On Remand

19 April 2021

FORMER Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo accused of corruptly parcelling out State land and duping home seekers through his cooperative, is now seeking removal from remand.

Chombo is being charged with six sets of corruption-related charges that involve allegations that between 2000 and 2015 he was illegally parcelling out of State land in Harare and Zvimba.

If the application succeeds Chombo will have to be summoned to court on the date of any trial but in the interim will not have to attend periodical court hearings.

He will have his bail and passport back subject to any bail conditions.

In his application prepared by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Chombo said the State had failed to name the people whom he allegedly duped and the amounts they lost.

Chombo claims that the State should, at least by now, have established the amount of prejudice suffered considering that the offences were allegedly committed years ago.

"To begin with, the complainants have not been named, the amounts have not been stated and given that the alleged offence occurred over a period of 15 years it is strange how the State does not have an amount," he said.

Chombo said that the bank account said by the State to be the one used by home-seekers depositing money when buying stands from him was not registered in his name and he was not the one who opened the account.

He said the cooperative he is alleged to have used to defraud people was not registered and this was confirmed from the Registrar of Cooperatives.

In his application, Chombo also denied that he allocated 125 commonage stands to himself saying there was no title deeds registered in his name to prove the State's allegations.

"The State has not so much as even bothered to mention a stand number of any stand allocated to myself, by myself let alone 125. There is only mention that residential stands 304, 318, 319, 320 and 322 of Plot 12 Philadelphia Farm are mine. Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.

Chombo also denied owning the companies that the State alleges were allocated stands by him on Carrick Creagh Farm saying he was not a director or shareholder of any company.

"The first company Comverol Enterprises (Pvt) Limited, I am neither a director nor shareholder. How can these companies be deemed mine when I am neither a shareholder nor director? Cayford (Pvt) Limited does not exist. How can I be an owner of a company that does not exist," he said.

Chombo distanced himself from Cavford (Pvt) Limited, which the State alleges he allocated a stand to.

He also denied handing over Order Farm to Sensene Investments saying there is a Constitutional Court judgment that dealt with the matter.

Any decision that was made regarding the farm in question was as a result of a court order, Chombo said.

"It is a misrepresentation of fact to allege that I handed over Order Farm to Sensene Investments. An elementary investigation into the matter will demonstrate that the State could not have formerly made reasonable suspicion that I committed any offence when the Government departments are acting in terms of the court," he said.

Chombo also denied instructing officials to sign a deed of settlement with Phillip Chiyangwa's Pinnacle Holdings saying there was a Supreme Court order which narrated how the signing was made.

"In that matter an order of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe SC294/11 dictated that parties enter into a deed of settlement not myself. It is therefore mischievous and scandalous to state before the court of law that I unlawfully instructed officials to sign a deed of settlement," he said.

The State is expected to file its response on April 28, with Prof Madhuku making his oral submissions on May 10.

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