Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
EX-Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo will spend the weekend in custody after the High Court deferred his bail hearing to next week because of the magistrates’ bad handwriting.
Chombo, who is facing a slew of charges and is being represented by veteran lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku, filed his appeal at the higher court on Wednesday.
He is challenging the magistrates’ court decision to deny him bail. Justice Clement Phiri postponed the hearing to December 6, to allow records of proceedings in both the Chombo and ex-Zanu-PF youth leader Kudzai Chipanga matters, to be transcribed.
State lawyer Mr Tinashe Kasema had applied for a postponement arguing both records were illegible because of the magistrates’ bad handwritings.
Harare magistrates Mr Elisha Singano and Ms Josphine Sande presided over Chombo and Chipanga bail applications respectively. Justice Phiri concurred with the prosecution that both records were illegible. Chombo was arrested and appeared in court on Saturday of last week.
According to the indictment, one of the charges is that he violated Section 4 (a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:16) when he allegedly connived with Psychology Chiwanga, Rejoice. Pazvakavambwa, Iben Fransisco, James Chiyangwa, Theresa Chenjerayi, Elias Choto and L. Chimba to forge documents to transfer a Glen Lorne, Harare, property from the Harare City Council to one Alois Chimeri.
Three people sucked in Chombo’s underhand dealings — former Harare City Council town planner, Chiwanga, the deputy director of valuations and estate management in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Pazvakavambwa (43) and the registrar of valuers Chimba (70) — have been arrested on allegations of facilitating the transfer of council property worth $900 000 into Chombo’s name.
They were taken in as Chombo’s accomplices. Chiwanga appeared before Ms Josephine Sande, on Wednesday who remanded him in custody to December 8, while Pazvakavambwa and Chimba appeared before the same magistrate on Thursday.
The duo is accused of violating Section 4(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:16) and were remanded in custody to yesterday for continuation of bail application.
They are being represented by Messrs Admire Rubaya and Joel Mambara.
It is the State’s case that the duo acted in connivance with Chombo, Chiwanga, Iben Francisco, James Chiyangwa, Theresa Chenjerayi and Elias Choto.
Prosecuting, law officer Mr Edmore Nyazamba alleged that on a date unknown to the State, Chimba wrote a document dated June 13, 2008 to the City of Harare, indicating that he had no objection to a double transfer of a property in Glen Lorne to Aloise Chimeri. He also did not object to Chimeri being given title deeds of the said property, which had been illegally acquired and was sold to him by Chombo.
According to the State, Chimba also influenced Harare City Council to illegally get compensation of the said piece of land, which had been sold by Chombo.
Pazvakavambwa, it is alleged, authored another document on June 25 of the same year addressed to City of Harare, confirming that the property had been sold to Chombo.
She further instructed Francisco to transfer the property into Chombo’s name, the court heard. It is further alleged by so doing, Chimba and Pazvakavambwa acted contrary to and inconsistent with their duties as public officers as their actions had the effect of showing favour to Chombo and Chimeri.