Former Minister of local government Ignatius Morgen Chombo appeared before Magistrate Stanford Mambanje facing one count of Fraud and 5 counts of criminal abuse of office for crimes committed between year 2000 and 2015. The state was represented by Charles Muchemwa and Ephraim Zinyandu, while Prof Lovemore Madhuku, Tungamirayi Muganhiri and Munyaradzi Bwanya represented Chombo.
The state alleges that during the period extending from 2000-2015 the then minister of local government illegally caused desperate home seekers to deposit various amounts of money into an account registered under Ignatius Chombo Housing cooperative for developments but the accused did not remit the said funds.
The state further alleged that Chombo misrepresented to home seekers that he would allocate stands at Kia Ora Farm in Zvimba District, but the accused developed cold feet after monies were deposited into his account.
On the first count of criminal abuse of office Chombo is alleged to have unlawfully allocated himself 125 Commonage stands at Haydon farm in Zvimba Rural District.
On another occasion the accused is said to have allocated himself 5 low density stands at Philadelphia Farm in Harare.
Chombo is said to have unlawfully grabbed several stands in Carrick Creagh Farm in Harare and registered them in the name of his companies without paying for them.
The former Minister also stands accused of unlawfully handing over acquired state land at Order Farm Harare to Sensene Investments.
He is also accused of instructing officials of the ministry of local government to unlawfully sign a deed of settlement in relation to stoneridge Farm Harare with Pinnacle Holdings without cabinet authority.
In his affidavit statement the investigating officer Maxwell Gudoricharima opposed bail for Chombo citing that the accused is facing a serious offence which can attract a lengthy prison sentence upon conviction and can thus abscond on that account.
Gudoricharima also cited the fact that Chombo is a man of great influence as a former cabinet Minister and is well connected thus likely to interfere with witnesses.
Meanwhile Chombo will spend the night as a guest of the state at Remand prison while he awaits ruling on his bail this Thursday 25 February 2021.