Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
FORMER Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, who is facing a litany of corruption charges, breathed a sigh of relief after the High Court granted him $5 000 bail yesterday.
Kudzanai Chipanga, former Zanu-PF youth leader, had earlier on been released on $500 bail.
In a judgment delivered last night, Justice Edith Mushore allowed the appeals by Chombo and Chipanga, who were both represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku.
Chombo had offered $2 000 for his bail, but Justice Mushore ordered him to pay $5 000, coupled with stringent conditions.
He was also ordered to report three times a day to Marlborough Police Station between 6am-10 am, 12pm-2pm and 4pm-6pm.
Chombo is also required to surrender his travel documents and title deeds to his Mount Pleasant house and not to interfere with State witnesses. Further, the former minister is prohibited from visiting the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry offices and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe until the matter is finalised.
Both Chombo and Chipanga are expected back at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts today for routine remand.
Chipanga, who is facing charges of making statements undermining public confidence in the military, was ordered to report twice a day at Borrowdale Police Station and to reside at the given address until the matter is finalised.
He is further required to surrender travel documents and not to interfere with State witnesses.
Chombo and Chipanga were arrested during “Operation Restore Legacy” last month, during which the Zimbabwe Defence Forces announced they were targeting “criminals” around former President Robert Mugabe.
Among the serious charges Chombo is facing are violating Section 4(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:16) by allegedly conniving with Psychology Chiwanga, Rejoice Pazvakavambwa, Iben Fransisco, James Chiyangwa, Theresa Chenjerayi, Elias Choto and Lazarus Chimba to forge documents used to transfer a Glen Lorne, Harare, property from the Harare City Council to Alois Chimeri.
It is the State’s case that the duo acted in connivance with Chombo, Chiwanga, Francisco, Chiyangwa, Chenjerayi and Choto.
Prosecuting, Mr Edmore Nyazamba alleged that on a date unknown to the State, Chimba wrote a memo dated June 13, 2008 to the City of Harare, indicating he had no objection to a double transfer of a property in Glen Lorne to Chimeri.
He also did not object to Chimeri being given title deeds to the said property, which had been acquired illegally and sold to him by Chombo.
According to the State, Chimba also influenced Harare City Council to illegally get compensation for the said piece of land, which had been sold by Chombo.
Pazvakavambwa, it is alleged, authored another document on June 25 the same year addressed to the City of Harare, confirming the property had been sold to Chombo.
Pazvakavambwa, who is the deputy director of valuations and estate management in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Chimba (70), who is the registrar of valuers, have since been arrested as Chombo’s accomplices.
They are accused of facilitating the transfer of council property worth over $900 000 into Chombo’s name. They appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Josephine Sande on charges of violating Section 4 (a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:16).
They were granted $300 bail last Friday and remanded to tomorrow.
The pair was advised to report twice at Machipisa Police Station and not to interfere with State witnesses.