Chombo pays $5k bail, goes home

HARARE - Former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday formally paid $5 000 bail before he was finally released from Chikurubi Maximum Prison where he had been on remand for nearly two weeks.

Chombo was ordered to pay $5 000 bail by the High Court on Thursday to end his hell in remand prison after he was initially denied his freedom by the Harare Magistrates' Court on November 27.

Yesterday he surrendered his title deeds and paid the $5 000 to pave way for release from Chikurubi Maximum Prison where he was being held together with former Zanu PF youth leader, Kudzanai Chipanga.

As part of his stringent bail conditions, Chombo will be reporting thrice a day at Marlborough Police Station.

Chombo’s lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, who is also representing Chipanga, said the former Zanu PF heavyweight was relieved to finally head home.

“They are now just sorting bail issues before he is cleared and leaves for his home. This is quite a relief for him because you know that these people have not known freedom since November 15 when they were taken from their homes,” Madhuku said of the duo.

Yesterday Chombo arrived at the magistrates' court for his routine remand under heavy military guard.

He was in the same suit he was wearing when he first appeared in court last month after spending weeks in detention following a raid on his house by the military at the crack of dawn on November 15.

Chombo appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande together with ex-Zanu youth leaders Chipanga and Munyaradzi Hamandishe. He was remanded to January 8.

The former Zanu PF secretary for administration is facing a slew of charges which could potentially earn him a combined 55 years in prison if convicted on all the three counts he is facing.

Chombo has been charged with criminal abuse of office, contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act and fraud with the State saying his alleged activities prejudiced it of $3, 6 million.

The maximum sentences on fraud are 35 years, criminal abuse of office, 15 years and contravening Prevention of Corruption Act, 5 years.

Chombo, 66, was seized by the military in the early hours of November 15 in an operation which led to former president Robert Mugabe being placed under house arrest and later led to his resignation.

He was released into the custody of the police on November 23 and was rushed to hospital for treatment on injuries he claimed were sustained during the time he was in military detention.