Chombo's bail variation ruling deferred

HARARE - A HARARE magistrate has postponed to tomorrow a ruling on an application by former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo to have his bail conditions relaxed to allow him to attend to his farm in Mashonaland West.

Although prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba had not objected to Chombo’s application, magistrate Josephine Sande instructed the State to put the communication in writing.

Chombo made the application through his lawyers, Lovemore Madhuku and Tungamirai Muganhiri, to be allowed to report once a day at Marlborough Police Station from Monday to Friday between 0800 hours and 1700 hours.

Currently, Chombo is reporting at the same precinct three times a day. In his application, he said he was now a full-time farmer.

“At the time of the original bail hearing, he (Chombo) had just vacated office as a Cabinet minister by operation of law.

“He was not re-appointed to Cabinet. He now has to depend on his farming on a full-time basis,” argued his lawyers in the bail application.

“His farm is in Rafingora. This is a drastic change of circumstances. The applicant has a constitutional right to keep his life intact and fend for his family.”

It was further argued that other persons who may qualify as Chombo’s co-accused were subsequently arrested and granted bail on less onerous conditions and that the State has not completed its investigations within the period it originally undertook and has not strengthened its case in any manner thereafter.

Chombo was released on a $5000 bail after spending days at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

The former Zanu PF secretary for administration is facing a slew of charges that could potentially earn him a combined 55 years in prison if convicted.

He is being 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.

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.

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