HARARE, November 27 (The Source) – Former finance minister Ignatious Chombo, who is facing three counts of corruption, was on Monday denied bail after the presiding magistrate ruled that he was a flight risk and will be held in custody until his case in heard on December 8.
The charges relate to his time as local authorities minister, and crimes that allegedly took place over a decade ago.
On Saturday, before Magistrate Elisha Singano, Chombo applied to present his evidence in camera, citing ‘sensitive’ information. The court declined the application.
Singano said the state had provided compelling evidence that Chombo was not suitable for bail. The state argued that Chombo wielded influence and could interfere with investigations.
“Now that he is aware that there are charges against him it does not stop by the mere fact that he no longer holds a ministerial post but that he may continue to influence state witnesses who are named in the state papers,” said Sungano.
“The accused statute in society as a former minister for a long time in government shows that he has established contacts within the ministry, in the country and also outside the country he has the connections to flee from the jurisdiction of the court and then not stand trial.”
Chombo was among government officials who were detained by the military when the army took over the country two weeks ago, leading to the fall of former president, Robert Mugabe.
The former minister, who was appointed to head Treasury at Mugabe’s last Cabinet reshuffle last month, stands accused of having fraudulently acquired a $14 billion loan (Zimbabwean dollars) from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) under a crops and livestock support facility in 2006.
He was for a decade the minister in charge of local authorities and is accused of having used the funds to to purchase two Toyota Hilux Vigo motor vehicles.
Chombo is also accused of having used his influence as local government minister in 2006, to allocate himself a Helensville property valued at $2,7 million. Additionally, he is also accused of having forged documents which he used to transfer a Glen Lorne property valued at $900,000 to one Alois Chimeri.