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Why Chombo is spending weekend behind bars

Finance Minister Ignatious Chombo yesterday appeared at the magistrate court facing three counts of criminal abuse of office.

Appearing before Magistrate Elisha Singano, Chombo applied to present his evidence in camera, citing ‘sensitive’ information. The court declined the application.

He was remanded in custody to tomorrow when his bail application will be heard.

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 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.

His lawyer Lovemore Madhuku accused the State of denying Chombo his constitutional rights.

“The accused person was kept in custody beyond 48 hours. He had preferred to give evidence in camera given the sensitivity matters surrounding the manner of his arrest,” Madhuku said.

On Friday, Madhuku said his client had been admitted to hospital with injuries sustained from severe beatings when he was in military custody.- The Source

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